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Jenny Lind winner to perform June 23

June  03, 2014

The American Scandinavian Association at Augustana will celebrate midsummer on June 23 with decoration and raising of the Maypole, procession of the midsummer queen and a concert by soprano Christina Nilsson, winner of Sweden's 2014 Jenny Lind Scholarship.

Events will take place at First Lutheran Church, 1600 20th St., Rock Island. All events are free and open to the public.

Decoration of the Maypole will begin at 5:30 p.m. The queen's procession begins at 6 p.m. and then the maypole will be raised. This year's midsummer Queen is Abby Lynn Battin of St. Charles, Ill. Her twin sister, Emma Rose, along with a younger sister, Grace Ann, will serve as her attendants.

After the program there will be traditional Scandinavian singing and dancing around the Maypole to classic Swedish tunes.The concert will begin at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. After the concert, guests may meet the performers and enjoy a Scandinavian social with cookies and beverages.

Nilsson will perform classics made famous in the 1850s during Jenny Lind's triumphant concert tour of America managed by promoter and circus genius P.T. Barnum. Nilsson has appeared in several operas, as Despina in Mozart's "Cosi van Tutte," and First Lady in Mozart's "Magic Flute," as Geltrude in Donizetti's "Enrico di Borgogna" and as "Sångerskan" in Jennefeldt's opera "Hos oss."

Nilsson's accompanist, Thomas Rudberg, recipient of the Otto Goldschmidt Scholarship, is also an award-winning pianist, who has performed with Sweden's Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra.

The program is in part supported by a grant from The American-Scandinavian Foundation in New York, New York. A freewill donation will be taken for the Mauritzson Scholarship at Augustana which supports Swedish students who attend Augustana.

Abby, Emma and Grace are the daughters of Phillip and Britta Battin and granddaughters of Lee Ann Carlson. Their great-great-grandfather, Gustaf Adolph and great-great-grandmother Charlotte Christina Carlson immigrated from Kisa, Sweden, in 1905.  

About Jenny Lind

Jenny Lind was born in 1820 and was admitted as a 9-year-old to the Royal Theater in Stockholm. She made her debut at the age of 15 in A.F. Lindblad´s opera "Frondörerna" (The Rebels) and at 17 she enjoyed great success in the role of Agathe in Carl Maria von Weber´s opera "Der Freischütz." Two years later she became a member of the Royal Academy of Music and was awarded the title of Royal Court Singer. In 1844 she was guest artist in Berlin, laying the groundwork for her international fame.

In 1850-51 Lind made a concert tour of the U.S. at the invitation of impresario and circus promoter P.T. Barnum. She was very charitable with her earnings, aiding immigrants, the poor, and establishing a scholarship fund for artists. She also donated money to Andover, Ill., where the Jenny Lind Chapel was built and stands to this day. 

The Jenny Lind prize consists of a 40,000 Swedish Crown award, plus concert tours in North America and Sweden, including appearances in Toronto, Ottawa, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, Rock Island, Lindsborg, Kansas, and Bridgeport, Conn.