Local Swedish festival attracts far-away visitors

Local Swedish festival attracts far-away visitors Friday�s Midsommar activities ended at dusk with Scandinavian ring dances. Midsommar concluded Sunday with a community worship service at the church. by David Lias The annual Midsommar Festival at Dalesburg Lutheran Church, with its ethnic food and fun traditions, has proven to be a fun event for people of all ages and backgrounds.

By the time the first day�s events wound down Friday night, perhaps no group of people were enjoying themselves more than a weary band of musicians who had logged more miles than anyone else at the church.

Everts Kvintett from V�xj�, Sweden, was the last group to perform Friday. Everts Kvintett�s five musicians specialize in music from the 1930s and �40s, with a repertoire of both Swedish and American tunes from the swing era.

Some of the Swedish music includes Min Soldat (My Soldier), Tva Sm� R�da Rosor (Two Small Red Roses) and Lili Marlene. On the American side are Side by Side and We�ll Meet Again.

The group also performed Swedish folk music and provided tunes to Midsommar participants took part in Scandinavian ring dances as at dusk Friday.

The musicians came together eight years ago for a Swedish countryside theater. They liked each other and the music so much they stayed together. Now they perform 10 to 15 times a year at various occasions and have recorded two CDs for Swedish Radio Kronoberg.

The group is made up of Malin Fernholm, flutist and vocalist; Mikael Fernholm Paulsson, guitarist; Sven Lorentzen, who plays clarinet; bass player Lars Nordblom; and lead vocalist Maja Nordblom.

Their trip to Dalesburg was part of their very first musical tour of the United States.

The swing-era music presents a fascinating aspect to the cultural exchange.

�Often American tunes and lyrics are translated and transformed to Swedish conditions,� Lorentzen said. �Some tunes (that we perform) were written at that time in Sweden by Swedish songwriters, and now we�re bringing them back.�

Everts Kvintett�s travels in the past week were limited to South Dakota and Minnesota, in communities made up of people largely of Scandinavian descent.

The group performed twice while in Clay County � earlier Friday Everts Kvintett gave a luncheon performance at the National Music Museum in Vermillion.

Lars Nordblom called the group�s experience in South Dakota Friday �overwhelming.

�You get to meet all of these people who are related to Sweden and Norway,� he said. �They are so friendly, so talkative and so hospitable. I amazed with their stories, talking about their parents, their grandparents, coming over here, and the places they came from in Sweden, and how they left everything and came to brand new country so far from home.�

Lorentzen said he and his fellow musicians fielded plenty of questions about their homeland. �People are very interested in learning about the areas where their ancestors came from,� he said.

�It�s also thrilling after all of these years to come to the same land as my ancestors did once in the 1890s,� Lars Nordblom said. �To follow their footsteps is a great feeling � to travel through the country and see the same things they saw.�

The Swedish holiday of Midsummer (or Midsommar in Swedish) is of Viking origin, celebrated around the summer solstice and was brought to Dakota Territory by Swedish immigrants from Dalarna Province in 1868. Midsommar in Dalesburg celebrates summertime and the Scandinavian heritage.

The Dalesburg Midsummer Festival is an annual community homecoming event sponsored and held at Dalesburg Lutheran Church, located north of Vermillion, on the Friday between June 19-25.

The afternoon and evening programs feature the themes of Scandinavia, Scandinavian-America and rural life. A highlight of the festival are the musical performances, and a smorgasbord supper served by the Women of the ELCA at Dalesburg Lutheran.

Other talent at the festival included the folk music duo Linnaea, from Vankiva, Sweden and The Stoneback Brass, made up of triplet sisters Mary, Kristin and Sarah Stoneback, who are originally from South Dakota.

Dalesburg, a farming community in central Clay County, takes its name from the Swedish ?Dalsborg.� The word is derived from ?Dalarna,� the home province of many of the first homesteaders.

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