Scandinavian Midsummer Festival 2022

 on June 25th & 26th

2019 Program


There are a number of activities going on that you can enjoy during the Midsummer Festival. Among them are two almost full days of live music with the a number of individual artists, groups and choirs. There will be performances by the Scandinavian Dancers and the Vikings in the Viking Village, including songs, games and a real Viking raid – beware of the Norse! At the Midsummer Marketplace, you find over 50 vendors with shopping kiosks with lots of exciting products and crafts.  There will be cultural displays, kids’ activities, a troll forest, carnival games and a vintage Volvo car show by the Volvo Club of B.C.

For the Midsummer beginner – there are two very popular events during the festival that you may not want to miss! The raising of the Midsummer Pole with dance around takes place on Saturday afternoon. The popular and crazy Finnish wife carrying contest takes place on Sunday.

This year there will a Paavo Nurmi Run a again on Saturday morning.


Salmon BBQ, Smørrebrød (Danish open-face sandwiches), Swedish Meatballs, Hot Dogs, Waffles, Coffee, Pastries and Beer Garden.

PROGRAM – SATURDAY JUNE 22nd Main Stage and Field

9 am Paavo Nurmi Run at At Burnaby Lake Park. 3K, 5K, 10K. Register online or


Time Event
10 am Gates open
11 am -12 noon Royal City Concert Band – Energetic music to start the day.
12:30 pm – 1 pm Flag and anthem ceremony
1 pm – 2 pm ON THE FIELD – Midsummer Traditions – Enjoy a festive parade, help us raise the Midsummer Pole, and dance on the grass with trolls and kids from 2 to 92!  Midsummer Spelmanslag with Scandinavian Dancers and Knotty Trolls
2 pm – 2:30 pm Midsummer Choir – Celebrate Midsummer with songs
3 pm – 4 pm Nordic Singers -On tour from Copenhagen’s Royal Opera, our special guests entertain with opera favourites and popular hits.
4:15 pm – 4:45 pm Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver  & Gammel Dansk – Traditional Nordic folk dance
5 pm – 5:30 pm Lisa Maxx Songs with Icelandic flavor
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm The Catherine Toren Trio – award-winning jazz in the Beer Garden
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm West Coast Charisma (Heather Soles & friends) – Soulful jazz, blues, bebop, swing and vintage rock in the Beer Garden
7:30 pm -8 pm Bonfire and traditional singalong in the Beer Garden
8pm – 11 pm The Beagles – Great music for dancing and relaxing in the Beer Garden




2:15 pm – 2:45 pm Midsummer Spelmanslag – Traditional dance tunes and songs
4 pm – 4:30 pm Marc Gravel – Eclectic guitar favourites
Times TBA Saga Portraits – Become Your Legend! Photographic portraits in Viking-inspired costumes. Book your photo session at the Knotty Trolls’ table in the Iceland tent.


PROGRAM – SUNDAY JUNE 23rd Main Stage and Field

Time Event
10 am  to 11 am Midsummer Pancake Breakfast in Beer Garden – Scandinavian breakfast and music by Bo Fred Olsson, a true “Scandihoovian!”
11 am – 11:45 am Capilano Brass Ensemble – Fanfare and Welcome, eclectic music from the Renaissance to the 21st Century
12 noon – 12:30 pm Vancouver Puppet TheatreBeloved folklore characters brought to life.
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm Nordic Singers -On tour from Copenhagen’s Royal Opera, our special guests entertain with opera favourites and popular hits.
1:45 pm – 2:30 pm Vancouver Dorfmusik  – European style village band music
2:30 pm – 3 pm ON THE FIELD  Wife-carrying Contest
3 pm – 4 pm ON THE FIELD – Midsummer Traditions – gather round the Midsummer Pole for games and dances with the Midsummer Spelmanslag,  & the Knotty Trolls  
4 pm Midsummer Lottery Draw & Festival Closing



11:45 pm – 12:15 pm Paavo Nurmi Awards – Traditional dance tunes and songs
1:30 pm – 2 pm Midsummer Spelmanslag – Traditional dance tunes and songs
Times TBA Saga Portraits – Become Your Legend! Photographic portraits in Viking-inspired costumes. Book your photo session at the Knotty Trolls’ table in the Iceland tent.




The Beagles (Beer Garden, Saturday 8:00 pm) The Beagles are a musical duo that has been performing music together for the past 20 years.  The Beagles are made up of two music teachers, Ken Mason and Ed Sadler. Together they have traveled all over British Columbia covering all types of music from the 50’s to the 2000’s.  Great music that you can dance to and guaranteed fun for all!!



Bo Fred Olson (Beer Garden, Sunday 10:00 am)

Bo Fred Olsson was born in Sweden and raised in Vancouver.  He has been involved with music and entertaining ever since high school along with acting in film and television following a teaching career.  He has won awards for his stage acting and for original music that he composed for award-winning short plays.

He plays saxophone, guitar, and a high-tech keyboard to accompany his singing.   He continues to perform at various functions around the Lower Mainland and several here at the Scandinavian Community Centre. This is his sixth year at the Midsummer Festival.  Bo’s repertoire includes rock and roll, pop, and country songs from the 50’s, 60’s  and later, with a mixture of songs he loves to perform in Swedish.


Capilano Brass Ensemble (Main Stage, Sunday 11:00 am) The Capilano Brass Ensemble play music from the Renaissance to the 21st century. They have been performing around Metro Vancouver for over 20 years. The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is a highlight event on their calendar.




The Cat Toren Trio  (Beer Garden, Saturday 5:30 pm)

Cat Toren is a Juno Award winning pianist and composer. Hailing from North Vancouver, Cat now resides in Brooklyn, New York where she has built up a career as a composer and performer of modern music and as an educator. Well known to the jazz scene in Vancouver, she returns regularly to play at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Before then you will find her and friends playing some of jazz’s most loved standards here at the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival with Ben Henriques on saxophone and Jen Hodge on bass.


Gammel Dansk (Main Stage, Saturday 4:15) is an ensemble of six “dancer-musicians” (playing fiddles of various types, clarinet, accordion, bass, pump organ, guitar, ukulele, whatever) occasionally accompanied by guest vocalists and instrumentalists. They play old-time Scandinavian dance music (waltz, schottis, polka, hambo, etc.), set and mixer dances, and the more traditional regional ‘bygdedans’ music of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.



Marc Gravel (Bandstand, Saturday 3:00)

Marc is a talented guitarist whose beautiful sound resonates through a wide variety of musical styles.


Knotty Trolls (Midsummer Traditions Saturday 1:00, Sunday 3:00, and Bandstand – by appointment!)

The Knotty Trolls have been making mischief at Midsummer for many years! With their stripey socks, pointy ears, and knotty tails, they’re hard to miss…. And they love food, so watch out for your waffles & sandwiches! You can catch up on their past antics on Instagram@knottytrolls


The Knotty Trolls have added some new magic this year–Saga Portraits: Become Your Legend! Photographic portraits in Viking-inspired costumes. Book your photo session at our table in the Iceland tent. Follow us on Instagram @sagaportraits





Lisa Maxx (Main stage – Saturday 5:00)

Lisa Sigurgeirson Maxx is a singer-songwriter of Icelandic ancestry who was born in Steveston and currently resides on Salt Spring Island. Lisa has one recorded album to her credit and is currently working on her second. Lisa has written a number of songs that pertain to her Icelandic heritage.  A highlight of her musical career was being flown to Iceland in 2016 to perform for the Icelandic National League in Reykjavik, where the then newly-elected President Guthni Th. Johannesson was in attendance. In May 2019, she flew to Winnipeg to perform at the 100th annual convention of the Icelandic National League of North America. She is delighted to be sharing music of her Scandinavian heritage with us here at our Midsummer Festival.


Midsummer Choir (Main stage  — Saturday 2:00) 

The Midsummer Choir brings together members of the Tivoli Singers and Runeberg Chorus to celebrate Midsummer with song. The Runeberg Chorus was originally founded by Swedish-speaking immigrants from Finland in the 1920s. In the beginning the repertoire was mainly Swedish with the inclusion of some Finnish and English songs. With the addition of singers from other language groups they have expanded their programs to include all the Scandinavian languages, English and Japanese.
Since 1959, the Danish Choir of Vancouver, later to be renamed Tivoli Singers, has met weekly to sing—for their own enjoyment and also to practise for public performances. The choir has enjoyed a reputation for being willing and able entertainers at various functions in the Danish community and elsewhere.


Midsummer Spelmanslag (Midsummer Traditions – Saturday 1:00 & Sunday 3:00, Bandstand  — Saturday 2:15, Sunday 1:30)

The Midsummer Spelmanslag is a group of local musicians who gather each year to share Scandinavian folk music with everyone at the Midsummer Festival. Our greatest joy is to get our audience tapping their toes, or better yet, up and dancing!



Nordic Singers from the Royal Opera of Copenhagen (Main Stage Saturday 3 pm; Sunday 12:45 pm) The 2019 Midsummer Festival is delighted to present the Nordic Singers from the Royal Opera of Copenhagen. Three Danish singers and their accompanist will entertain our audiences with a lively mix of popular opera arias and duets, pop and traditional Scandinavian songs, ABBA repertoire, and much more. As part of their 2019 North American tour, the Nordic Singers will be the main attraction on the Midsummer Festival stage.



About the Nordic Singers:

Knud Rasmussen, piano

Knud Rasmussen was trained at the Fynen Music Conservatory in Odense, with further studies at the Danish Royal Music Conservatory in Copenhagen. He has diplomas in piano, organ, and guitar performance, and has accompanied singers in all branches of music, classical and modern. He is the founder of the much-acclaimed Joyful Noise Gospel Choir, which has performed all over Denmark as well as in the U.S.A. He is also the organist at the Gammel Holte Kirke in Denmark.

Cecilia Hjortsberg, Soprano

Cecilia Hjortsberg studied at The Royal Music Academy of Stockholm, in the Chamber music program, and at The Opera Studio at the Gothenburg Opera. She has performed starring roles as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, lsis in Naumann’s Osiris, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Georgetta in Puccini’s Il Tabarro, and Desdemona in Verdi’s Othello. She has also performed at Takkeloftet at the Royal Danish Opera.


Randi Gislason, Soprano

Randi Gislason studied at the Opera Academy in Copenhagen. She made her debut in the vocally-demanding role of Lady Billows in Britten’s Albert Herring in Arhus, Denmark. She has since sung a number of leading roles such as Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth, Giorgetta in Puccini’s II Tabarro, and Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She has also appeared in operettas, such as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. At the Royal Opera In Copenhagen she sang the lead soprano role Mikael in Carl Nielsen’s Saul and David. In addition, Gislason has given many recitals of lieder, oratorio, and opera/operetta, such as Verdi’s Requiem. Among other awards, she received The Danish Wagner Society’s Scholarship to Bayreuth, Germany.

Magnus Gislason, Tenor

Gislason was trained at the Music Conservatoire in Reykjavik, Iceland, He received further training in Milan under Prof. G. Ostini and masterclasses with Julia Hamari and Placido Domingo. He was permanently engaged at the Danish Royal Opera in 1991, where he has sung many character roles. He frequently gives concerts all around Denmark, in Germany, and other destinations abroad, such as Verdi’s Requiem and Messe Solennelle in Denmark and in Dresden, Frankfurt and Prague. In the summer of 2000, he sang Don Jose in Bizet’s Carmen in connection with Hamburg’s “Carmen 2000” project under the leadership of the conductor Cord Garben; in October, 2005-06, the production was performed in Tokyo, Japan. In 2006-07 he sang with the Royal Norwegian Opera in the premier of the opera Aurora by Tryggve Madsen.


The Royal City Concert Band (Main Stage — Saturday 11:00)

The Royal City Concert Band was formed over 30 years ago. While based in New Westminster, our members come from throughout the Lower Mainland region. Under the direction of our Music Director Kris Covlin, we are exploring more modern concert band repertoire to give audiences an appreciation of new arrangements and composers, as well as performing popular favourites such as Broadway musicals, traditional marches, folk and classical arrangements. We have over 45 adult musicians in our ensemble and are open to new members who aspire to a high level of performance. We performed at the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival in 2014 and 2016 and our members say it is one of the highlights of our season.



The Scandinavian Dancers of Vancouver (Main Stage — Saturday 4:15) is a group of energetic dancers and musicians, going strong since 1971. Though many of us are not Scandinavian, we’re dedicated to the preservation, enjoyment and performance of ethnic dances and music of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. We dance on Wednesday evenings at the Scandinavian Centre and welcome both experienced and beginning dancers.



Vancouver Dorfmusik (Main Stage — Sunday 1:30)

 The Vancouver Dorfmusik was founded in 1983 to perform in the style of a Swiss “village” band. The core repertoire is still traditional but many well known melodies from around the world have been added and the regular membership has increased to 20 musicians. The band makes regular appearances around Vancouver and has performed at such popular events as the Alpine Festival in Whistler, the Kitsilano Showboat, the Leavenworth Autumn Festival and the Ladne Bandfest .The band had successful tours through Switzerland and Germany.



Vancouver Puppet Theatre (Main Stage  — Sunday 12:00)

Viktor Barkar is the artistic director and creator of Vancouver Puppet Theatre, which was organised here in Vancouver in 2012. They present unique Puppet Shows for schools or venues in Greater Vancouver.





West Coast Charisma (Beer Garden, Saturday 6:30 pm)

Heather Soles is a Vancouver-based singer and songwriter. At six years old, watching Eartha Kitt perform on the Ed Sullivan Show, she exclaimed, “That looks like fun!” Heather went on to earn a Bachelor of Music and sing in various genres: Jazz, Rock, and Rhythm and Blues as well as her own original compositions. Today her style brings a smokiness and a natural, bluesy feel to a repertoire of soulful jazz, blues, bebop, swing and vintage rock. 

After an extended break from music, teaching at a college and raising two children, Heather found herself yearning for music, and returned to singing. Recently she has performed with some of Vancouver’s top musicians at the Sylvia Hotel,  the Cottage Bistro, the Fairview, Frankie’s, the Central Bistro, Pat’s Pub, the Kino Café, The Scandinavian Cultural Centre, Lynn Valley United Church’s Friday Night Live, and Jazz Vespers at St. Andrews-Wesley United Church. 

Heather has recently  released a new CD, Until I Met You,  a collection of beloved jazz standards. She is currently finishing a new recording project with Miles Black, called DREAMLAND. 


Ron Thompson was born in Vancouver and began getting immersed in the local music scene at age 11 when he began guitar lessons. As well as an extensive music education he gained experience working with Vancouver legends, Fraser MacPherson, Bobby Hales, Oliver Gannon and Hugh Fraser. He has played in the bands of Michael Buble, Dal Richards and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Some of the many singers he has accompanied are: Rosemary Clooney, Joani Taylor, Dee Daniels, Jim Byrnes and Raffi.


Ray Ayotte is a drummer, percussionist, drum teacher, and drum maker. He is known world-wide for his drum making and design and has a long history in Vancouver’s drum retail and manufacturing. He handcrafts RAYA Drums and does restorations and repairs of rare and vintage drums. He enjoys playing many genres of music including Jazz, Rock, Blues and R&B.


Brent Gubbels has been a Vancouver based professional musician and teacher for many years. In that time he’s played acoustic and electric bass with a diverse group of musicians and ensembles including Van Django, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, Gypsalero, Rumba Calzada, John Reischman, the Vince Mai Project, Dal Richards, Lee Aaron, Dee Daniels as well as Stuart Maclean (Vinyl Café) and Bob McGrath (Sesame Street). As a member of the Oscar Lopez trio he performed pops concerts with the Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon Symphony Orchestras in addition to playing many of North America’s major jazz and folk festivals.

He has toured North America and Europe extensively, performed at Lincoln Centre, the Kennedy Centre, as well as the Nanjing International Jazz Festival in China. He’s also been regularly featured in groups performing at the Vancouver Jazz festival, and the Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and the Winnipeg Folk Festivals.

Brent can be heard on recordings by Van Django, Gypsalero, Juno nominees Susan Crowe, Compadres and the Hard Rubber Orchestra as well as Juno winners James Keelaghan and Oscar Lopez.




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