Eivind Rickard Keyn

1936 - 2006

Eivind Keyn, a talented tenor and conductor, held several positions in Seventh-day Adventist schools in Europe. Although he initially started as an elementary school teacher and then served as a principal for several years, his interest in life was always music. In later years, it was his primary activity and led to his founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Music Organization of Norway (SAMNOR), an active music organization for musicians in his native country.

Keyn was born on July 10, 1936, in Oslo, one of five children born to Aslaug (Sverdrupsen) and Gerhard Keyn. Their home was filled with singing and the sound of instrumental music. Although his parents were untrained natural musicians who played folk instruments, the banjo and zither, they gave their children opportunities for more formal music study.

Eivind studied violin in his early years at the music conservatory in Oslo and also played guitar, piano, and organ. One of his brothers, Bjørn, began serious music study in his childhood years and pursued a music career that would take him to England and the U.S., where he taught at Loma Linda University and Andrews University.

Eivind graduated from Onsrud Mission School in Norway in 1952 and as he first planned to be a pastor, he completed the two-year ministerial program at Vejlefjord Junior College in Denmark, in 1954. During this time, he continued singing as a soloist and, while at VJC, sang in a male quartet, led by Anita Nørskov-Olsen, that included Jan Paulsen, later world leader of the SDA church.

A year later, he finished additional studies at Björknes Junior College in Norway. Keyn then taught for a year in the church school at Trondheim, Norway. In 1956, he married Turid Myklebust and started two years of civil work in lieu of military service for the country.

Keyn returned to teaching church school in Oslo in 1958, where he taught for the next five years. As he had at Trondheim, he taught music in this church school, in addition to the usual academic classes. During this time he also conducted Adventkoret, the Oslo Adventist Church youth choir.

In 1963, Keyn successfully passed the Music Teacher's and Choir Conductor's exams at Music University in Oslo. Starting that year, he also attended Kristiansand Teachers' College, completing a Teacher's Certificate in 1965.

For the next eight years, he served as principal and teacher at the Iladalen Church School in Oslo, which offered elementary and junior academy classes. While there, he taught music and founded and conducted a brass band that toured throughout Scandinavia and played at the 1975 General Conference Session in Vienna, Austria.

In 1973, Keyn became principal and teacher for the next seven years at the Tyrifjord Church School near Tyrifjord Junior College, the Adventist college in Røyse, Norway, and then taught music and Norwegian at TJC for four years, from 1980 to 1984. During several of those eleven years at Tyrifjord, he led the TJC school choir and Tyrifjord church choir and formed another brass band.

In those four years at TJC he completed with distinction the Cand.mag. (candiatus magisterii) and Cand.philo. (Candidatus philologiae) exams at the University of Oslo, in 1981 and 1984, respectively. These were Norwegian undergraduate and graduate degrees in music at that time. His thesis was titled, Ludvig M. Lindeman (1812-1887) - An Overview and Analysis of His Organ Compositions.

In 1984, Keyn was invited to serve as chair of the music program and choir director at Newbold College in Bracknell, England. In his decade there, he also served as music director of the Newbold International Summer Music Festivals from 1985-1993, and toured extensively with the college choir and a chamber orchestra. They traveled all over Great Britain and Ireland, in the Scandinavian countries, most of Europe, and in Israel and Egypt. He would later write about the March 1993 trip to the Middle East:

The fifteen-day tour of Israel and Egypt started and ended with charter flights to and from Tel Aviv. Once in the region, we traveled by bus, giving three concerts in Israel and five in Egypt. All of the concerts were well attended, with the concert in the basilica of Heliopolis having an overflow crowd of Adventists, Catholics and several town officials. One pastor observed after the concert, "I think you had the whole Catholic congregation of Heliopolis here tonight."

We performed Vivaldi's Gloria at all concerts as well as other works for the group. Additionally, solos were presented by the music teachers and students and professional musicians on violin, oboe, piano, organ.

We enjoyed wonderful hospitality. That and the thrill of playing in that region made the tour an unforgettable experience. Interestingly, there were military escorts preceding and following the bus when the group traveled through the desert, and armed police were posted outside our concert halls.

When Newbold College decided to close its music department in 1994, Keyn returned to Norway, where he taught at the Rosendal School in Mjøndalen, Østmarka School in Oslo, and the Tyrifjord School, before retiring in 1999. A year before he retired, he founded an organization named Samnor, Seventh-day Adventist Music in Norway, which he chaired until his death in 2006.

Together with his brother Bjørn, Eivind conducted the SAMNOR orchestra and set up a number of Divine Music Worship Services in Norwegian churches. In 2000, he organized a millennium concert that was given in the Doom Church in Oslo, in cooperation with SAMS, the Swedish counterpart to SAMNOR co-founded by his daughter, Elbjørg Lundström. Keyn and his daughter, in the name of their organizations, also collaborated in other projects, including establishing several summer music camps.

In 2004, he presented Mendelssohn's Elijah with a local orchestra, the Opera Choir of Iceland, SAMNOR, and a Danish choir in Trefoldighetskirken, the main state church in Oslo. Following Eivind's death, Bjørn assumed leadership of SAMNOR, with Lundström assisting as vice-chairman.

In spite of his busy schedule, Eivind performed as a soloist and sang in choirs throughout his career. He was a member of Adventsangerne (The Advent Singers), nationally noted Norwegian choir under the direction of SDA Sverre Valen and assisted in arranging tours for them. He also assisted in the creation of a new Adventist hymnal for Norway and was an active member in several professional music organizations, including the Adventist Musicians Society and the International Adventist Musicians Association.

He was living in Norway at the time of his death on January 31, 2006, at age 79.


Sources: Information provided by Elbjørg Keyn Lundström, 2010; Personal Knowledge.