“The Swedish Nightingale”, Jenny Lind, came to America in 1820 as a thirty year old singer. Her voice was a soprano of brilliant and sympathetic quality. Her principal accomplishment was as an unrivalled master of coloratura.

The supreme position she held in the operatic world was due not only to her glorious voice, but also the naïve simplicity of her acting. She said:”I sing after no one’s method- only as far as I am able, after that of the birds; for their Master was the only one who came up to my demands for truth, clearness and expression.”

The Jenny Lind club in Detroit, Michigan started in 1937. Their goal was to foster and promulgate Swedish culture. Honorary memberships were accepted by the Count and Countess Folke Bernadotte of Sweden and the sculptor Carl Milles, active at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Through the years the Jenny Lind Club has planned many social activities typical of Swedish traditions like Lucia Fest and Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis Eve celebration on the final night of April)) to celebrate the arrival of spring.
During World War II the members devoted their time to the Red Cross and to the Save the Children Federation. The Jenny Lind Club has awarded many young singers and musicians from Sweden and invited them to give concerts in the U.S. The club has supported Wayne State University, Planned Parenthood, the Swedish Historical Museum and a Carl Milles scholarship.

This year’s delightful Påsk (Easter) Fest was held in the Swedish Club in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The delicious 'Påskbord' lunch was prepared by Barbro Lundberg, Lynn Milroy, Marie-Ann Halladay, Marie Nilsson, Ingrid Farguharson and Mary Brodzik. They were dressed as påskkäringar with kerchiefs on their heads, long flowery skirts and aprons. However, none came flying with a coffeepot on a broom with a black cat behind. The tables were decorated by the member’s own Easter decorations with laboriously hand embroidered table cloths, painted wooden roosters and cute, little “påskkäringar”. Most of the delicatessen items were homemade such as gravad lax, Janssons Frestelse (herring gratin), pickled cucumbers and herrings. Limpa and knäckebrod with Swedish cheese are a must.

Well, that was a real Swedish Påsk Lunch with food and friends to enjoy!

Lisbeth Nordström-Lerner