It's true: The Svenska Kulturförbundet i Cleveland has celebrated Sköna Maj (beautiful May) since it was first organized, I am told, some time prior to the great Irish potato famine — whenever that was.
As the name implies, the evening was to be one of welcoming springtime, despite the fact that doing so is somewhat putting the proverbial Dalahäst before the cart; however, in proper juxtaposition following the bonfires of Walpurgis Night, King Carl XVI Gustaf’s birthday and the expectation of graduation, if not simply ending a semester's labors in the halls of academia, this is the night to eat, drink and by all means, sing spring songs.
Many years ago at such a gathering, one of the Swedes wanted to leave, excusing himself with, "I don't sing." Nonsense! And after a round of OP Anderson, you couldn’t keep him quiet. And off key to boot!
Opening with Du Gamla Du Fria and Ja Vi Elsker (the Norwegian equivalent), the business portion of the meeting was rapidly dispensed with. Our hostess and pianist pro-tem, Aina Lustig, together with our president, Ingemar Svala, set the program from our songbook which was compiled by several members many years ago. Opening with Vintern Rasat Ut and followed by 11 others including Student Visan, Varvindar Friska, Glad Såsom Fågeln, Sköna Maj and Flickan i Havana, and without a Björling in the group, don’t let anyone tell you Swedes can't sing.
As a final effort, America The Beautiful was sung, after which it was certainly time to fall back, re-group and wet our whistles ... so to speak.
Our host then provided snacks and hot, strong black coffee by which the social hour began and ended. In short, a splendid time was had by all, even the hosts.