Hay Day – Musical Barns Of North Dakota

Hay Day – Musical Barns Of North Dakota


– [Voiceover] I am
a deserted barn, my cattle robbed from
me, my horses gone, light leaking in my sides,
sun piercing my tin roof where it’s torn, I
am a deserted barn. ♪ As the sun begins to rise ♪ Over blue Dakota skies ♪ As the breeze gets to sighin’ ♪ Through the valley below ♪ There’s no place
I’ll ever find ♪ Will ever change my mind ♪ She calls me my
wild prairie home ♪ – [Voiceover]
Funding for Hay Day: Musical Barns of North
Dakota is provided by BNSF Railway, North Dakota Farmers Union, Gate City Bank, the State Historical
Society of North Dakota, and by the members
of Prairie Public. – The barns in North Dakota
are icons or landmarks. They were places that you
could see for long ways away, and they were painted red,
and marked your place. – It’s tremendously important
that we have to have barns around for future
generations to really appreciate and understand first hand
the legacy that’s been passed down from their
parents, grandparents. – All these barns were built
for a purpose and a specific place in time, but
that purpose always entailed a heck
of a lot of work. A certain number of those,
we need around as monuments. What do you do with a barn
that’s simply outlived its time? If you’re a musician,
there’s an answer for that. [Voiceover] – I was born
in 1949 on what was then a fairly typical Western
North Dakota family farm. We had beef cattle
and milk cows, chickens, pigs, and
grew small grains. By the time my parents
moved off the farm to the big city of
Fargo, I was still too young to do most of
the real farm chores. But in those early years, I
had plenty of time to play, often in the hay
mow of the barn. Well, I grew up to be a
musician, and found myself wanting to play in the barn
again, play music that is. But just where does
one go in North Dakota in the 21st century
to play a barn dance? Well, it turns out we
found a few barns to play, including the Elroy
Lindaas Barn in Mayville. – [Voiceover] Ladies and
gentlemen, please welcome Elroy Lindaas and
the Hay Shakers. – The Lindaas Barn dance
has a certain kind of magic that partly comes from
your arrival there. You get there at
twilight, you get there in the evening of
a long summer day, and you climb the
stairs, up into the loft, and there’s old Elroy
fronting the band. And the band is so various, you never know what’s
gonna be there. You don’t know how many
accordions will be there, you don’t know how many
fiddles will be there, you don’t know how many
banjos will be there, but he keeps pulling it together every time he holds
one of those dances. – We started having barn
dances back in about 1989. We have twin
daughters, they were just entering high school
at the time, and they had the idea that they
were going to have a barn dance for
their classmates. They worked diligently
and hauled away the
old dirt, and the old hay and whatever
else, and cleaned it out. And when they were done I
moved in with my companions, and we started playing music up here for little jam sessions. – [Voiceover] Long
before Elroy’s girls convinced him to help
them host a barn dance in their big white barn
on the family farm, Elroy’s grandfather came to
homestead in the Mayville area. – [Elroy] My grandfather
came from Norway, he was 15 years old when he came to
Southern Minnesota, lived with an uncle and came
with his grandfather. When he became of
age he came up here and homesteaded in 1878,
homesteaded on this place. At the very beginning,
even before he went back to get Grandma and
get married in 1881, he had a dugout down
on the hillside, and it was sod, and had icing
glass windows of some kind. He went to marry her
and came back here and they lived in that
soddie for a time. – Some of the nicest
construction material he had was the sod, because the
original sod was so thick and so durable, dug into
the ground and because that was the easiest
way to keep warm. And then you put a straw
over the top of it, if you had timbers on your farm,
or otherwise had to import, and then you usually
had a layer of wire, woven wire, with it to
keep the straw on top. And the chickens would
be in there and the cattle would be in there,
and that was the barn. – [Voiceover] The
homestead has undergone tremendous change
since the soddie. As the farmstead grew, so did
the need for a larger barn, to serve as a daily task center
for an expanding operation. – When this barn came
about, there were two horse stalls here,
and my dad had four horses at the time. I also used the barn for raising
pigs and things like that. So, we’re pretty diversified. I used to milk a few
cows, enough to keep milk for the house and sell a
cream can and bring back a lot of groceries for what we got
for our cream at that time. – [Voiceover] Long empty of hay, the loft is now an
expansive space to gather, dance, share homemade
dishes, and greet friends. And the latest barn renovations
involve not only new structural support, but support
from a widespread community. – [Elroy] We did put
some extra bracing in, in case we started swinging
a little in rhythm, we didn’t like it
shaking around. It really never did,
but just to be safe. There was what we call
shiplap on the floor, it was a little warped, there
were splices in between, and sometimes the ladies’
heels would catch in there and a few things like that. Somebody suggested that we
lay down a nice plywood floor, and I was a little reluctant. I said that’s gonna
cost a lot of money, and pretty soon the 20
dollar bills were coming on, people were chipping in
to put in that floor. And we accomplished that, that’s about 15
years ago I suppose. – [Voiceover] The barn’s
most well-known guests first visited the Lindaas
barn for a political rally, and then returned to
play some old time fiddle to the delight of visitors. – [Elroy] Art Link was in the
barn with us more than once. He came when we had a
political rally here. He enjoyed playing fiddle
with us, so we invited him to come and I think he was
here perhaps three times. He just delighted in this
atmosphere, the people here, and the music that
we played with him. – Everybody. ♪ Home, home on the range ♪ Where the deer and the ♪ – It was hard to find a
place to play with some of my companions, I played
with some guys that were playing the
accordions and guitars and banjos, that type of thing. And it just seemed
like this was a fit, so we started playing
here, and as time went on pretty soon people would hear
about it, they’d come out and sit and visit and
listen to the music. It developed from there,
and pretty soon there were potluck lunches coming
and more people coming, and pretty soon they were
dancing on the floor, and it just developed. And now it seems we’re
known far and wide, people come from a
hundred miles away, and the blink of an
eye and come here. (upbeat music) – The big red barn was kind
of the icon of our farm. I always heard stories
of they painted ’em red so you could see ’em in the
winter time as a landmark. If you’re out there
stranded someplace. The big barn was kinda the
hub of the whole farmstead. Well the red barn in place
was one of those things that I really remember well. It’s gone now, course
the whole farm is gone. – [Voiceover] The
George Ehlis barn, South of Dickinson North
Dakota served its traditional purpose as the business hub
of the farm for decades. But today, it serves
a different purpose, as the social and event
center for the Ehlis family. ♪ After all these
years together ♪ – We cleaned it up and put
some flax cedar on the floor, sent out invitations and
brought family members in and we celebrated our 50th wedding
anniversary in that barn. My grandfather homesteaded
in 1907, he was Frank Ehlis, and his brother, Dan
Ehlis, homesteaded in 1910, and that’s the individual
that built the barn. He claimed a homestead
that someone had abandoned, there were a few buildings on
it, he immediately purchased the section of land that
adjoined the homestead that he settled on,
and right in the middle of that section that he
purchased, was a rocky knoll, and it was an ideal
location for a farmstead, good drainage, and all
kinds of building material. He started building
the barn in 1913-1914. The mortar they used
is clay and straw. We went and pulled out some of
the mortar between the rocks, it’s clay, straw,
and then you even see some horse hair mixed
in it to bind it and give it some strength. After the barn was completed,
then they plaster it with mud and whitewash it, you know, to
protect it from the weather. – Farmers were very
efficient about using whatever materials were
available close at hand, and they, it was kind
of like an investment of sweat equity, that
you could use as much of your local resources, local
rock that was hauled in from the fields, the labor
that went into wrecking that ground floor made
a distinction between the Ehlis barn, for example,
that has the stone foundation. We find examples of
foundations that are laid up of a rubble field stone,
granite rocks were brought in as boulders
and laid in mortar. It’s much more common to
find something like sandstone because it could be broken
loose from the sides of the buttes, or from
the surrounding landscape and transported a short distance and really laid
very efficiently. The other thing that really
captures my attention about the Ehlis barn, I
think was the way that the exterior cladding
has been attached to it. There are a couple
of main methods that we think about the outside,
let’s call it the siding, the sheeting that covers the
outside of the framework. For many barns in North
Dakota, that was done with overlapping cedar
lap siding, sort of
like we associate with house construction, or
residential construction. – Well the original structure
was back in the time when, you know, horses
were used for farming, and you could house
16 teams in the barn. The lean-to was for
the cows, and I think all the cows at that
time were dairy cows. The feed that was
put up into the loft, the horses would get
the first pick and then there’s great big cavities
alongside of the barn to where the fodder
would be gathered up and then the leftovers
would be fed to the cows. – [Voiceover] The gambrel
roof of the large Ehlis barn allowed for the storage
of the massive amount of hay needed to feed
16 teams of horses, and a herd of dairy cows. Today, the hay is gone, but
the still sturdy structure is perfect for hosting
massive amounts of people for a barn dance or
other Ehlis family event. – Patty and I
farmed for 30 years, we raised our
children on the farm, and then we let our younger
sons move into the house that we had on the farm,
and we moved to Dickinson. We were in town for three
years, and Patty, my wife, she just likes to
live in the country. She likes the serenity
and the quietness. So we came up with the
idea that there was this abandoned farmstead,
with this two story house and we’d take a bucket of water
and go clean up the house. Some people have lake cabins, and we’d have a
summer farm cottage. Well it turned into more
of a project than that. After the house was done,
we’ve got a barn there, and our 50th wedding
anniversary was coming up, and we thought that, well,
that’d be an opportune time to do a little bit
of restoration work. I was gonna put a steel
roof on it, and had a roofer come out and look at it,
and he didn’t give me a price on steel,
he said you know, you need to put it
back to original. So we ended up putting
cedar shingles back on the roof and
painting the cupolas. The outside surprisingly
was in excellent condition. You know, we put
new windows into it, and whatever boards were
rotted out, replaced them, we gave it a couple
of coats of paint. The biggest job was probably
cleaning up the mess. The last 20 years
it wasn’t used, and people’d open the door
and just throw stuff in. We have a daughter,
and her daughter’s getting married this summer. She’s gonna have her
wedding dinner and dance out of the barn, it’ll get
used for family events. ♪ Where it begins, I
can’t begin to know it ♪ But then I know
it’s growing strong ♪ Was in the spring ♪ And spring became the summer ♪ Who would believe
you’d come along ♪ Hands, touching hands ♪ (bluegrass music) – Before long, I
remember the barns started looking pretty rough. You know, they just weren’t
an important item anymore. – Some of ’em were
still up, some people take great pride in
’em and keep ’em up. I can’t blame people for
not keeping the barns up, but still, I think the
historical part of a barn on a farm is integral
to really understanding what that farm was like. Probably completely different
now, but what it was like historically is defined by,
you know, having a barn, and it supported a
lot of people, kept
a lot of people busy. – [Voiceover] The Harvey
Huber farm near Hazen has been in the family
for over a century. The farm and the barn survive because of a new
sense of purpose. While the farm is still
home to the Hubers, the barn’s hayloft is a
favorite gathering spot for family, friends,
and neighbors to come dine, dance, and enjoy
the entertainment. ♪ And I would do
it for you, for you ♪ Baby I’m not moving on ♪ I’ll love you long
after you’re gone ♪ For you ♪ – The history of family
farms is so tied to the barn, and so, I just would
encourage all people that have a barn that
could be restored, to give serious
consideration to having it. And then trying to make some
purposeful use out of it. Not simply to have
it just to finish it and then lock it
up and not use it. The way this barn continues to stay healthy
is by being used. The farm was purchased
by my grandfather in the early 1900’s,
maybe in the teens, and then was rented
out, and it wasn’t until my mother and dad married
that she received this as a gift, and my
parents then moved here. And even though they didn’t
live here right away, it became their home place, and that’s why it is
called The Homeplace. The barn was built, we
think, in probably 1945, maybe even at the time that World War Two was
coming to an end. My father actually was a
contractor later in life and built the barn with the help of neighbors and relatives. It was built, I think,
over the course of a year. – [Voiceover] Using some
pre-built components could help farmers
save time, labor, resources, and expenses,
precious commodities for all start-up businesses. – I remember very
well the day we saw the rafters coming
over the hill, and when they were
building the barn and how excited everyone was. Especially after the old
barn, which was kind of a rickety thing that I
didn’t like very well. I remember it going
up, and my uncle standing on his head
on the tip of the barn. ♪ We’re gonna ride, ride, ride ♪ Where the trail will wind ♪ You better ride, ride, ride ♪ – The time my parents
were involved, or my grandparents were involved the farming was
done with horses. And certainly by the
time I came along it was more mechanized. We still had horses and used
them somewhat extensively, but not as extensively
as they did earlier. And so, it was the typical
kind of a hard scrabble farm. We raised everything
from range cows, to dairy cows, we had
chickens, we had hogs. So there was plenty of
opportunity for work. – The lower level of the barn was entirely a dairy operation. We had actually a team
of horses at the North end of the barn, and
I had a saddle horse, in there at times we would have some hogs in here
at times, but we had anywhere from 15
to 18 dairy cows that we milked twice
a day, and that was really the primary
purpose of this barn. – [Voiceover] In contrast to
the often highly specialized practices of today’s
large agribusinesses, fostering diversity was critical to smaller operations
of early Dakota farmers. – People were not just
simply grain farmers per se, because they had
diversification. The first essential
animal was the milk cow, because you had to have
milk for the family. Then, the next thing
you had to have a pig, and smokehouses had to be
built and everything else. But the barn was
the critical thing. A lot of them were small
enough that you had more than just beef cattle in
there, you had the milk cattle, but you had the
horses in the barn, and you also had
pigs in the barn. Your larger operation, you had
separate buildings for ’em, but horse barn and cow barn
were usually always together. – The barn is not used
as fully as it should be. I’ll occasionally
bring a horse in here, but I don’t allow them to live
in here for obvious reasons. So it doesn’t smell
so much like a barn. At the time I was
cleaning this place, I’d taken a week or
10 days of vacation, and I spent every hour of every
day with a pressure washer and started with scaffolding
at the top of the roof and worked until I got it clean. Just getting it down
to bare wood was, I think, the most
difficult part. Putting the new floor
in was staining it, then there was painting
it, that was routine work, it just took a bit of time. It was just really making
the commitment and say, can we really take this
place, clean it up, and make it look
like something that will be there for
generations to come? ♪ North Dakota, where
the badlands call ♪ Home is called home to me ♪ I went to school at the
University of North Dakota, as I drove back and
forth there, and saw all these barns
going down, literally collapsing in on themselves,
I always kinda grieved. I thought it might be nice
to preserve this place, but it just turned into be
a great project and as we finally developed the
social side of this place, and used the barn
loft as a dance hall, it had a lot more appeal to me. The fact is, it is just
being able to have this place available now for friends,
and certainly for family, ’cause I think now of
grandchildren using it, our daughters use it
for social events now and it pleases me a lot. So, that is really what is
the driving force now and what will keep this place I think
going for a long time to come. ♪ It’s a beautiful morning ♪ At the break of
day you’ll hear ♪ The bearded cowboy
at the chuck wagon say ♪ Gather up boys the
coffee’s hot on the fire ♪ There’s a full day of
brandin’, we’re heatin’ the iron ♪ I want to smell that
scorched hair and burnin’ hide ♪ The horses are grained
now, they’re ready to ride ♪ Roll up your bedrolls
and jump in your boots ♪ (fiddle music) – You understand
things much better by getting up close to the barn
and looking at its details. Everything that people
used for the barn dance was part of the infrastructure
of that barn that just had always been there,
they’d been there forever. The values that are acquired
by these barns over time, from people living with them, and maintaining them,
and caring about them. It’s a kind of a value
of sustainability that it’s really
seems to be important for future generations to learn
and appreciate, there’s no substitute for experiencing
those things firsthand. – [Voiceover] More than
20 years after his death, and 30 years after
the last performance of the Lawrence Welk
television program, the Lawrence Welk Show
continues to be one of the most popular programs
on public television. All legends begin
somewhere, the Lawrence Welk legend and legacy began on
the family’s homestead farm in South Central North Dakota. (orchestra music) – The Welk place is a unique
but a very common farmstead. I’ve seen it in my
lifetime, we drive down 83 and then there’s a turn
off and it’s a gravel road. Well you drive down
the gravel and then you have to take this
pass-way up to the farm. It’s nestled in
this little island, right on Baumgartner Lake. – [Voiceover] First thing
you see is the barn, ’cause it’s red and it’s
the biggest building there. – Well, well, well,
what a beautiful audience we have this evening. – The Welk barn is pretty
much a typical prairie barn. It’s not the Cadillac of barns, it’s not a bad barn, it’s
kind of a typical barn. – Friends, I think you’ll enjoy this week’s Lawrence Welk
Show featuring some of the wonderful songs from
the Broadway musicals. – It’s not a real big
building, but functional. It has a hay loft where
you’d put some hay, in the wintertime you’d
have to feed the cattle so that was a good
place to have it, and a good place for the cats to have their kittens up
there, and things like that. (orchestra music) – The Welk homestead,
and then our activity in restoring the Welk barn is
important for several reasons. You know, we don’t have any
state historic site in this state that deals
with homesteading
and pioneer farming. What a statement
in North Dakota, you know, well we need that. We have no state historic
site that treats specifically the ethno-cultural history
of the Germans from Russia, our state’s largest
cultural group. Well, we need that. We don’t have any state
historic site in that whole South Central North Dakota
area for that matter, and we need that as kind
of a lynch pin in the historic landscape of
German-Russian country there. – Folks, here’s a short
preview of our show this week, a salute to our senior citizens. (orchestra music) – Most of the building
are in very good shape. There will be some
work done on the barn, there’s a story
to be told there, and I’d hate to
lose that structure. So that is probably
our biggest challenge, but we wanna, you
know, put it together so people can actually
go in and see things. – Fundamentally, the
barn looked pretty good, but it had become unsafe. When we started going in to
do the repair work on it, we found that there
were some joists that weren’t tied to
the studs, and oh, I began to get a little
nervous at that point. So we took particular
care as we were disassembling the loft
decking for instance. We’d do a little bit at
a time, and put it back. Well you know, let’s keep
this thing holding together while we’re working on it,
it’s not unsafe anymore. (orchestra music) – At the state historical
society, we have a unique responsibility, and
that’s historic preservation, and we take that seriously. I mean, we preserve
artifacts and items, and pictures, that
people have owned, but preservation of
buildings and structures, which are important to
understanding North Dakota is one thing that
we really focus on. And the Welk
homestead provides us with an opportunity to do that. ♪ Good night, sleep tight ♪ And pleasant dreams to you ♪ Here’s a wish, and a prayer ♪ That every dream comes true ♪ And now til we meet again ♪ Adios, au revoir,
auf wiedersehen ♪ – The barn dance is important,
I think for two reasons. One of ’em is, it’s a
throwback, you know, it’s back to the days
of barn dances when they were a vital element in
a vital rural community. Well, nowadays, that
community of people on the land, it’s
no longer there. But nevertheless, there’s
this other institution meant to serve a
particular demographic, and also as an outlet
for creative expression for quite a number of people, not just the dancers,
but the musicians. It is a venue where
they can come together. And so, it’s a reassertion
of community in a place where you think rural
community is gone. – [Voiceover] Robert and
Marie Piepkorn moved West to Mountrail County in North
Dakota from Minnesota in 1916, purchasing a farm in Alger
Township, Southwest of Stanley. They raised 12 children there before moving on to
Sand Point Idaho. Their son, my father
Herman, took over that family farm in 1929
raising seven kids while continuing the small,
diversified family farm model. Herman’s third oldest son, Lee, took over the operation in 1959, where he and Evonne raised
their three children. Over three generations,
22 Piepkorn children were raised on that farm,
and now they’ve all moved on. Lee passed away in 2006,
leaving his wife Evonne as the last Piepkorn
on the place. And leaving the long-term
future of the farm uncertain. – None of my children are
interested in farming. I don’t really know what will
happen to this farmstead. It’s just now a fun
gathering place for me, we’ve had quite a
few parties here, and hope to have a lot more. The original old barn
was built in 1943, and it had a hay loft
on it, and then in 1970, we moved the hayloft
off the barn foundation and made it into a machine shed. And that was done in 1970. And my husband used it as a
machine shed for several years. In 2010, after my
husband had died, I decided to make it
into a gathering place. – I’m from the area here,
from Ross North Dakota, Evonne saw me at
the Two Way North, I was having supper with my
cousin Paul, and she asked who I was, and she
asked me what I do. So I said I do handyman
work, and that’s where it all started from,
“I got a job for you.” – In 2010, Allen and I started
the restoration process. We first used the power
washer and cleaned it first, and then later on
we have painted it and cleaned it and redecorated. (mumbling) in fairly good shape, I redid the inside
the walls, put plywood to cover all the
boards, trying to get it mouse-proof,
and that’s the project. That’s the first
job I started to do was change the garage door out, so now it’s got a
overhead door on. And then we wanted
chandelier, so I made the chandelier
lights, actually using the old track system from the
old hayloft from the barn. And that rolls just
fine, it’s just a matter of where you wanna
have the chandelier at. ♪ And you never once looked back ♪ From your home
across the track ♪ – The Piepkorn barn that
has been transformed for use for other
contemporary purposes, for a venue, and a place
of public gathering. And of course,
that’s a tradition that’s not unrelated
to the way barns have been used
throughout their history. Everybody knows about
historic barn dances, and I’ve always been
kind of taken with boxing matches were
often held in them. My dad has great stories about
barns that he grew up in. They would have championship
fights for money in barns and roller
skating and basketball, and all those kinds of things. It seems appropriate and
certainly well suited to the present day use of
barns, when they can be used for something like wedding
events or gatherings. – Well the name Peaceful
Prairie Ponderosa came about after Lee’s death. And I guess I love to
be creative and I think ponderosa perhaps means
dwelling in Spanish, and then this particular barn became the old barn
at the ponderosa. It’s a fun place to be. ♪ As the sun begins to
rise over blue Dakota skies ♪ As the breeze get to sighin’ ♪ Through the valley below ♪ From these hills I look around ♪ I know I’m not alone ♪ She calls me by
the wild prairie home ♪ There is no place ♪ I’ll ever find ♪ Will ever change my mind ♪ She calls me by the
wild prairie home ♪ – Adaptive reuse of barns
is a tough proposition because they are all
specific purpose built. They were made
for the activities of a particular farm
family, running a particular farm operation, in a
particular farm environment. They’re so specifically
purpose built, then you have difficulty in
adapting them to another use. – [Voiceover] The
Schlepp barn near Ashley is located right
in the middle of German-Russian country in
South Central North Dakota. The barn has outlived
its original purpose of housing livestock and
hay, but it now hosts a variety of events,
including barn dances. And if you want to
have a barn dance in German-Russian
country, you gotta have an accordion in the band. – Hey, we’re off
and running tonight, kicking off this barn dance. – We always been
family orientated, whenever the kids come home,
this is the place we meet. Either it’s in the
house or in the barn. Now they’re bringing
their children home with their grandchildren, we use the barn
because it’s handier. The barn was built in 1928, and the rear part of the
barn was added in 1958. We originally bought the
barn from my wife’s aunt. Bought 20 acres, we were
in the restaurant business for 19 years and we
sold the restaurant and we wanted to
move out of town, because we’re both farm people. You walk down in the
lower part of the barn, the floor joists are from
one end to the other, 28, 32, 33 foot, they don’t
make that lumber anymore. There was a hill up here
where some guy sat up there, they probably didn’t have
the squares and the levels, and there was an old guy with
a pretty good eye in there, and they were putting
the rafters up there and he looked down the
line and he said hit it. And that’s the first thing
they did, they took the nail and pounded a nail
into that plank, ’cause they knew
that was straight. – The back part had old
wooden shingles on there, and it was pretty
leaky, so he said we’re gonna put a
flag on this side. I thought, oh great, but
it really looks nice, and a lot of people
comment on it. And we do have magnetic
stars, which we haven’t had a chance
to put on there yet, so we’re gonna be putting
those on sometime also. – Many people should
be commended for the
great imagination that they’ve shown in
some practical strategies for continuing these buildings
and giving them new life. It’s much happier when
a building can continue as a productive, contributing
feature, and when it has a new meaningful life,
in addition to only embodying the past, only being a frozen,
dead corroborator of history. We’ve moved on from
that period of time, and so we can understand
these barns as a way of understanding where we are today and where we may be going next. – [Voiceover] The
Hayloft has given innovative new life to the barn. Not only as a gathering
space and dance hall, but to host plays and a variety of entertainment by
local performers. – We originally started
it out as a hunting shack, ’cause I was in the
restaurant business, and we’ve always had out of
state hunters comin’ through and they’re always
looking for a place. So, I tried that for
a half a year and said eh, let’s put on a
play because we did one or two plays
at my restaurant. And we did one play and
we just couldn’t believe that all the people
that showed up. They were standing room
only, we took the chairs out so they could stand
and watch the play. It was a half an hour play,
and it was just crazy. I said, “what did
I open up here.” The back part had hay in there, you had there were cats
running around there, it smelled pretty bad like
cat, and stuff like that. The actresses would come
back holding their nose, oh, does it stink back there. So, I knew I had
to do something. We’ve done, I think, 27 plays in this barn in the
last five years. The plays are all
comedies, we do four nights and then we take off
about three months and start practicing
another one, and we’re working on it,
it’s building slowly. Every dime that I make is
pumped right back into the barn. We’ve had about
three dances now. My brother-in-law’s in the band
too, and we scrub the floor and the original
floor is back there, there’s not a knot in it. We put flax seed on for
dancing, just oils that baby up, just unbelievable, and
it’s slippery, and slick. Going to be a fantastic night. ♪ And his brother’s gone ♪ Goodnight, keep on keepin’ on ♪ And climb that mountain ♪ Well after it’s gone ♪ ‘Cause it ain’t goin’ nowhere ♪ Ooh-wee, you’re riding me high ♪ Tomorrow’s the day
my flock’s gonna go ♪ Oh no, we gonna fly, (mumbles) ♪ Ooh-wee, you’re riding me high ♪ Tomorrow’s the day
my flock’s gonna come ♪ (gentle music) – Commonplace building’s
on the landscape are buildings that are
typically designed without architectural expertise. Doesn’t mean that
they’re unsophisticated, or that the people
that build them don’t know what they’re
doing, in fact they know very precisely what the
requirements are and how they want to go about their
construction of a barn. It’s a tradition that
the builders refine the way of making barns
as they move through time. – [Voiceover] The Stein barn
in Southeastern North Dakota, served the family
well for decades as the work center for the farm. Housing animals on
the ground floor, and of course hay
in the massive loft. But in the past,
the barn also served as a community social center, hosting roller skating parties, boxing matches, and dances. That tradition of barn
dances is for the most part a distant memory for older
folks in the community, but for the younger
neighbors, a barn dance might be a brand new experience. Making the Stein
barn an ideal stop for the Radio Stars
Barn Dance tour. – A lot of people my age
have never been to one, and they see this as a unique
situation and they think this isn’t something
that happens every day. And I think what’s
old is new again, and people are very enthusiastic about what was gonna
happen tonight. We’ll see tonight how many come, and I hope it
fills the place up. I remember when you
had a public barn dance I probably was 16
years old or so. When the dance was over, the
gentleman that was sheriff, my dad and myself
followed him around and he looked out under or in
hay mangers and any place somebody might have got lost
and fell asleep in the manger. – [Voiceover] Like most
of the barns on the Radio Stars Barn Dance Tour,
the Stein barn was built by the earliest generation
of the family on the farm. – The barn was built
by my grandfather, Robert Stein, around
in the very early 30’s. And he was a very
handyman type of a person, he could build anything. – My dad had a book
that he had with him that was on weights
and measures. If you followed the
instructions you could build and do quite a few things. It was a 30 foot
wide by 50 foot long barn with a round roof. The barn was facing to the
North, and the door above could be opened and
people on the ground directly below it would
hook the slings up to unload the
basket load of hay. On the ground you’d
have a rope that led up to the part that
went into the barn. – They would oftentimes
have long span girders that allowed them to
make curved arches that may be as long as
35 to 45 feet in length that would sort of meet
together at a point over the top of the barn. I think the prevalence
of the hay racks, and the hay hooks,
and the hay doors, and the hay hoods, all
those things clearly show the importance of that large
spacial volume upstairs. That really the great
efficiency of storing hay was the main thing
driving the construction of such large barn buildings. – It seems like they were
attractive for one thing, people liked the round
(mumbling) appearance of the building
with a round roof. And it seems like they
made ’em quite sturdy and they stayed straight. The roof and the
rafters still look good, they still look sturdy,
no sag in the roof. So I got good memories about
that barn and the roof too. – The most dramatic
thing about seeing the interior of that
Stein barn was to see the beauty of those long-span
arches that allowed it to come to a point at
the top of the building. We know from various
accounts that the materials were delivered to Great
Bend on the railroad, and then pre-assembled at the
lumber yard and brought out so that the farmers
themselves, and people with some specialized
experience erecting barns could put a barn like that
together very efficiently. – [Voiceover] Although the
builders were efficient, they still invested
tremendous work and resources to craft solid structures
and expansive haylofts that would inspire
generations to come. – When you live with something
so unique and so amazing and such good shape,
you just kinda take it for granted
because every day when you open up the
door there it is. And you just have to
stop and think about all the days and nights
that barn has seen. To just be thankful that I
have it, and very grateful to my grandfather that he did
build the original structure. And it takes someone here to
come and visit or have an event to get out of their car and
say wow, what a great building. ♪ Thanks ♪ Thanks a lot ♪ I got a broken heart ♪ That’s what I got ♪ You made me cry ♪ You laughed a lot ♪ I lost your love ♪ Honey, thanks a lot ♪ You told our friends ♪ As I was passing by ♪ That you’re not sorry ♪ – [Voiceover] The
barns of North Dakota, in many ways they’re
relics of the past, monuments to a previous time,
and a previous way of life. The way of life of those who
settled on and tamed this land. You can see them
from the highway, looming behind the shelter
belt of an abandoned farm. A few are still used for
their original utilitarian purposes of sheltering
animals and storing hay. And a few barns are still
used for social occasions, dances, parties, and
other family gatherings. They’ll live on forever
in the minds of those who grew up playing and
working in those barns. They’ll live on in the stories of those who grew
up on those farms. Stories passed on from one
generation to the next. And the stories and legacy
of the barn will live on because of the artists,
the photographers, and painters,
filmmakers, and authors. The story of the barn lives
on in the words of the poet. I am a deserted barn, my
cattle robbed from me, my horses gone, light
leaking in my sides, sun piercing my tin
roof where it’s torn. I am a deserted barn. Dungs still in my gutter,
it shrinks each year as side planks shrink, letting
in more of the elements and flies, worried by termites, dung beetles, maggots, and rats. Visited by pigeons, and
owls, and bats, and hawks. Unable to say who or what
shall enter, or what shall not. I am a deserted barn. I stand near Devils
Lake, a gray shape at the edge of a recent slew. Starlings come to my peak,
dirty and perched there. Swallows light on bent lightning
rods, whose blue globes have gone to a tenants
son and his .22. My door is torn, it
sags from rusted rails it once rolled upon, waiting
for a wind to lift it loose. And then, a bigger wind
will take out my back wall. But, winter is what I fear,
when swallows and hawks abandon me, when insects
and rodents retreat, when starlings, like the
last of bad thoughts, go off and nothing is left to
fill me except reflections. Reflections at noon from
the cold cloak of snow, and reflections at night from the
reflected light of the moon. ♪ As the sun begins to rise ♪ Over blue Dakota skies ♪ As the breeze gets to sighin’ ♪ Through the valley below ♪ From these hills I look around ♪ I know I’m not alone ♪ She calls me, my
wild prairie home ♪ Hear the sagebrush
fills the air ♪ With the coyotes
wailing prayer ♪ Hear the meadow lark calls ♪ – [Voiceover]
Funding for Hay Day: Musical Barns of North
Dakota is provided by BNSF Railway, North Dakota Farmers Union, Gate City Bank, the State Historical
Society of North Dakota, and by the members
of Prairie Public. – [Voiceover] To order
a DVD copy of Hay Day: Musical Barns of North
Dakota, please call 1-800-359-6900 or visit
our online store at www.prairiepublic.org. (organ music) – My name is Andrew Steinberg,
and I am the organist at Trinity Lutheran Church,
and I am the chapel organist at Concordia College both
in Moorhead Minnesota. Having large instruments
in really large churches, helped to lead singing,
which is really their main function in
the beginning was to just help people sing and unify
singing in church services. Pipe organs, when they first
became popular in churches, were really the most
advanced thing around, and they were made large because it was easy to make
the mechanics work. And then they found
out, wow, we can make a lot more noise, so let’s make bigger pipes and
bigger instruments. And as long as you
can supply enough air to a large enough
pipe, you can make a really, really big sound. It’s so much fun to play
the organ at Trinity, because of the presence that
it brings into the space. It’s a really tall
and long building, and there’s so much room for all of the great sounds
to fill up the room, and it was really
exciting as a student, when I was still kinda
getting my feet about me with the organ,
to get to play and just the power that comes
with playing the organ. Originally, when the organ
was put in, there was a big movement throughout
the United States to go back to original looking and
sounding instruments, and they just developed
that ever farther. The console, which is
all rosewood is probably one of the most fun
features to watch for organists and
non-organists alike, because that’s where
all the action happens. There’s lots of
moving of the hands with the multiple keyboards,
which are called manuals, and of course playing
with your feet. In the center manual,
which is called the great, there are grooves in
the middle set of keys from the years of
being played on, and it’s really kind of
exciting to kind of have my fingers fall
into those grooves, and feel connected to
the decades and decades of players that have
been at that instrument. Each of the three keyboards
own a section of the organ. So the great, which is
the middle keyboard, has its own set of pipes in
the right bank on the wall. The swell has that upper
left section, and then the positiv has the section
hanging off of the balcony. So individually, it’s like
having three instruments in one, and they can all be
independent from each other, and play by themselves,
and they all have families of sounds that
belong just to them. And then what happens
is, when I want to make them all play
together, I can put down some more of those stop
tabs and it will couple the sounds so that I
can play on one keyboard and control sounds from any
of the three at one time. But I can have all
of it together, just
by hitting a switch. So, on the organ, the sounds
are grouped into families. And we have principle
sounds, flute sounds, reed sounds, and string sounds. When someone says hey, I
heard an organ you will probably think of what
are the principle sounds. And those are normally
the big metal pipes, that you can easily see
which are in the pedal. Those belong to the
principle family. Flute pipes can be
both metal and wood, and they’re a little more
softer, and a little more subtle of sound than
the principle sound. The string sounds are
unique hybrid pipes that are meant to sound more like
strings from an orchestra, violins, violas, cellos,
and so they bring a thinner stringy quality
for more lush moments. And then you have the
reeds, which can range from very hushed sounding
reeds, all the way to really bombastic trumpet
and trombone sounds. The pipe organ doesn’t naturally
crescendo, or decrescendo. When you hit a key,
it opens a valve and it lets air
through the pipes, so it’s a constant
volume for that pipe. So the swell shutter pedal,
which is controlled by the feet, and it’s right above
the pedal board where I play the
notes with my feet, and as I push the pedal forward, the swell shutters
will open, and as I slowly push it closed, the
swell shutters will close. So it’s connected by an
electric wire from my foot all the way up to the
top of the swell box to open and close the shutters. So the stop tabs on the organ
each tell me what family and what the size of the pipe is. So, there’s eight foot flutes, and 16 foot flutes,
and four foot reeds. And so I know what to turn on
for what sound that I want. And the more of those
that I have down, the louder the
sound is gonna be, because the more pipes
I have playing together. And the fewer is when you get the purity of an
individual sound. So the organ has these great
big chests that fill with air, and they’re waiting for
me to press these notes, and then they activate
and as I hit the keys, all of these things
open up and it just lets this air rush
out into the pipes. (organ music) So anybody who’s really
interested by the organ and wants to play, or really
wanted to delve deeper, I would encourage
them to first get a good grounding in piano,
because it really helps set you up to tackle
the organ with all of its extra buttons and
keyboards and pedals. Just ask to look around and
maybe get a demonstration, or just try under
their supervision to
see what it’s like. There are opportunities
out there for people to get up and get
personal with an organ. It’s such a great sound that
the instrument produces.

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One Reply to “Hay Day – Musical Barns Of North Dakota”

  1. What a great idea! Enjoy those old barns and have tons of fun with friends and neighbors. What great and cheap entertainment! How relaxing! Great video!

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