June 13, 2009
On June 13, 2009, the Award of Merit was presented to Paul Wilsonhonoring his work at the grassroots level in preserving and promoting Swedish heritage.
Paul is a Scandinavian folk musician and the leader of a couple of folk music groups called Skålmusik and Skål Klubb in the northern Minnesota community of Brainerd. In the summer of 1999, Paul and his wife Mary Abendroth spent six weeks traveling around Scandinavia, attending “spelmansstämmor” and musicians’ gatherings wherever they could find them. They had so much fun that Paul thought, “You know, I know lots of Scandinavian folk musicians right here in Minnesota and nearby! Why can’t we do something like that here?” Paul approached the nearby town of Nisswa with the concept of hosting the event. Their response was unanimous: “Great! You do it.”
And Nisswa-stämman was born. Starting in 2000, on the second weekend in June, the festival has gathered fiddlers, nyckelharpa players, hardingfele players, accordionists, guitarists, vocalists, dancers, and general aficionados of Scandinavian folk music here in the “New World.” Folk musicians love to have an audience for their art, and a “spelmansstämma” provides the natural canvas for this happy co-mingling of folks.
Photo credit: Doug Livingston (2007)
October 23, 2009
Seven Awards of Merit were presented during the Joint Conference of Swedish America. Pictured with SCA Chair Bruce Larson and Vice-Chair Willow Hagans are recipients Gunhild Ljung (Swedish School in New Jersey), Carl Holm (New Sweden Colonial Farmstead), Ruth Runkle (Kalmar Nyckel Foundation), Earl Seppala (New Sweden Centre), Fran Allmond (Delaware Swedish Colonial Society), Margareta Talerman (American Swedish Historical Museum), and Esther Ann McFarland (The Swedish Colonial Society).