Rolf Reinertsen was born in Lyngdal, Norway, in 1918. When he was two years old he came with his parents to Brooklyn, New York.
He attended P.S. 102 and started piano lessons when he was 8. After finishing High School, he began organ lessons with a music professor from Union Theological Seminary, who also gave lessons at the Juilliard School of Music.
In 1937 he began to play the organ at the First Evangelical Free Church where the family attended worship services and where Rolf had been confirmed.
In 1941 Rolf began a church choir, and in 1949 The Quartet. He was organist for four National Free Church Conferences, and at the Billy Graham Crusade in Hartford, CT, in the 1950's.
He also learned to play the xylophone, which he's been playing for the last 40 years.
In 1954 a young lady came from Norway and she helped him in the services by playing the piano. She and Rolf often played duets together. Klara and Rolf became good friends.
On June 11th, 1955 they married. Rolf's cousins, Frank Fredricksen was best man, and Norma Andreasen was maid of honor.
The Norwegian services and fests were jammed with people in the fifties, sixties and seventies and Rolf and Klara were great assets with their music.
In 1982 Klara passed away; she died of cancer. Later Rolf's mother passed away, so Rolf sold the family home on 84th street.
Klara and Rolf Reinertsen
That great house had been a gathering place for friends and family enjoying the hospitality of Klara and Rolf. And also the hospitality of his parents. (This webmaster was fortunate enough to experience the hospitality first hand).
The house was enormous - Rolf's parents occupied the large comfortable apartment on the ground floor.
In 1990 he bought a house in Cedar Glenn Lakes near Whiting, NJ. His widowed sister Gladys lived in the same area.
Rolf, his mother and sister
Every weekend for the last four years he has commuted to Brooklyn to continue his ministry in music. After 57 years of playing the organ, he will retire, but will continue to come to 66th Street Church for the Norwegian Fests.
We join with his many friends and church members in our gratitude.
(Excerpts from a 1992 article)
Rolf Reinertsen died in 2006 at the age of 88.
To hear Rolf playing the organ in a recording with the baritone Kjell Andreassen: