Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 kicked off the Yuletide Season with its 88th Annual Lucia Pageant.
Founded in 1922, the Children’s Club is the oldest Swedish American children’s folkdance group in the VASA Order of America North America. The group has many performances scheduled around the metropolitan area. The first of six performances was on December 6th. It was given in Brooklyn at Salem Lutheran Church. It’s premier performances occurred Sunday December 7th at St. Andrew’s Church and the following Saturday Dec. 13th in Manhasset at Our Savior Lutheran Church. Over 30 children participated in this year’s St. Lucia Pageant. The audiences were also treated to Swedish folk dancing to the accompaniment of Smorgasbandet’s Jeanne and Wayne.
This year’s Lucia, Justina Russo, is a fourth generation VASA member. Russo’s great-grandmother, Ruth Bohman, was a close friend of Elsa Rix and her grandmother, Juliet Grahn, danced with the group in its 1939 performance at the New York World’s Fair. Her mother Rebecka, was the Lucia Bride for Lindberg Lodge #505 in 1976. Both she and Justina are current members of Lodge Olympic #235. Justina is an accomplished violinist and has provided musical accompaniment for their performance at local VASA Lodges as well as at the performance of the United Nations’ Peace Day Bell Ceremony. She is a senior at Long Island’s Bay Shore High School and felt honored to be the Club’s 2008 Lucia Bride.
Elizabeth Dahlström-Schumacher is the leader of Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 with Nina Prasso as vocal director. Under their leadership and that of the former leader, Elaine Lindquist McGrath, the group made a CD recording performances. The CD “Lucia and Folkdances” contains not only Swedish traditional Christmas carols, a reciting of Swedish poetry and the legend of Lucia, but also includes instrumentals for folk dancing. It is available for purchase for $20. For more info about the CD and Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1 see www.skandjam.com or email Elsarix1@aol.com.