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Myron Floren

Myron Floren was an American musician, accordionist, composer, assistant conductor of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, and TV personality of The Lawrence Welk Show fame.

As one of the most recognized accordion players in history, "The Happy Norwegian" endeared himself to generations of fans over his six decade career. Audiences never tired of hearing his trademark song, Lady of Spain.

Myron Floren
Myron Floren
Biographical fast facts

Full or original name at birth: Myron Howard Floren

Date and place of birth: November 5, 1919, on a farm southwest of Roslyn, South Dakota, U.S.A.*

Date, place and cause of death: July 23, 2005, at 26 Georgeff Road, Rolling Hills Estates, California, U.S.A. (Colon cancer)

Marriage
Spouse: Berdyne Mae Koerner (m. August 19, 1945 - July 23, 2005) (his death)
Reverend Glenn performed their wedding ceremony at the First Lutheran Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S.A.

Family/Relatives
Siblings: Arlie Floren, and Duane Floren (a.k.a. Dewey Floren) (brothers)
Sisters: Valborg Floren, Genevieve Floren, Virginia Floren, and Gloria Floren

Children
Daughters: Randee Lee Floren (b. October 13, 1949)
Kristie Ann Floren (b. November 22, 1951)
Robin Gay Floren (b. July 1, 1954)
Holly Floren (b. 1957)
Heidi Lynne Floren (b. October 29, 1960)

Parents
Father: Ole Floren (a farmer/local civic leader/politician)
Mother: Thilde "Tillie" Louise Lensegrav (b. 1896 - d. January 1, 1978, McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

Error corrections or clarifications

* Some sources erroneously report Floren was born and raised in "Webster, South Dakota." In point of fact, his family did not move to Webster until Myron was in his junior year at Roslyn High School.


Career - Selected musical compositions - Hobbies/sidelines

"When I discovered the accordion, I was only about four years old," he once recalled. From the moment he first saw the instrument being played, he was, "totally captivated, watching and listening to the accordion music. For some reason, I was hooked on the accordion from that day forward, though I was not yet old enough, at age four, to communicate my inner yearning to learn the accordion. Just two years later, however, after much pleading with my Dad, he finally bought me a beautiful new 'button box.'"

Myron Floren began his career in entertainment as "the Melody Man" on Sioux Falls, South Dakota radio station KSOO. He also taught accordion while living in Sioux Falls. Floren once explained, "I was teaching about 75 students at that time, but looking back, I honestly don't know where I found the time to do the teaching because I had four radio shows a day, jobs at night with "Bill and His Old-Timers" and was taking classes at Augustana College." One of his first students was Berdyne Koerner, his future wife. He had initially arrived in Sioux Falls in September of 1938 to attend college.

He was unable to serve in the military during World War II due to a weakened heart, the result of rheumatic fever he suffered as a child. He did manage to help the war effort by joining the United Service Organizations (USO) and had some memorable experiences entertaining troops in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Following the war, the young couple moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where Floren joined the popular country group, Buckeye Four. Specializing in hillbilly music, they performed on the radio and local TV. It was in St. Louis where he would meet, audition for, and join Lawrence Welk and his orchestra.

Myron Floren joined the Lawrence Welk Orchestra as an accordionist, June 7th, 1950. Shortly after joining, he became the band's star performer. He made his television debut with the orchestra in August of 1950, and even played at the inaugural ball for
President Eisenhower. Myron noted, "Lawrence was doing one-nighters all over the country and a radio show on Friday nights over ABC. This opportunity led to shows in New York and Los Angeles and many points in between. In the fall of 1950, we did a show on the Dumont TV Network in New York. Shows were still in black and white. From there, we went to Los Angeles, doing shows on KTLA. Our audience at the Aragon Ballroom in Santa Monica grew from 300 to 3,000 in just four weeks. Our future seemed rosy, indeed." The Lawrence Welk Show (1955-1982) began its lengthy run on Los Angeles independent TV station KTLA channel 5. The show's nationwide network television debut occurred July 2nd, 1955, on ABC. ABC carried the popular musical show from 1955-71, then it ran in syndication until 1982. Repackaged episodes continued to appear on PBS stations for decades.

Dubbed "The Happy Norwegian" for his perpetual grin, Floren attributed his ever-present smile to the fact he was incredibly happy with his career, and truly blessed by a loving wife and family.

After the series went off the air, Floren hit the road, performing as many as 200 engagements a year. He worked as both a solo artist and also with other members of the former
Lawrence Welk Show. He appeared at many music festivals around the country, as well as the Lawrence Welk Resort and Champagne Theater in Branson, Missouri. He kept up the grueling schedule until health problems forced him to slow down. Before his death, he suffered a stroke and battled colon cancer.

Selected musical compositions:
Skating Waltz in Swing
Swingin' in Vienna
Kavallo's Kapers
Florena Polka
Windy River
Dakota Polka
Long Long Ago in Swing
Minute Waltz in Swing
Accordion Man Polka

Hobbies/sidelines: Jogging/running, and woodworking/carpentry.

Sources

The most in-depth of more than two dozen sources consulted in preparing this profile, was Myron Floren's 1981 autobiography, Accordion Man, written with his eldest daughter, Randee Floren.


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