The First Church in Jaffrey invites the public to its third annual Scandinavian Midsummer Celebration with traditional music and dancing around the Midsummer Pole on Saturday, June 22, from 10:30 a.m. to noontime, on the Meetinghouse Common in Jaffrey Center at Laban Ainsworth Way and NH Rte. 124.
The First Church Midsummer Celebration will again be led by noted fiddler, soprano, and folklorist Andrea Larson, who loves the Scandinavian traditions of folklore and music. Andrea Larson has performed Swedish folk music and dance in theaters, museums, churches and schools in the U.S., Great Britain and Sweden. She teaches violin at her home in Wilton, NH. First Church Minister of Music Gene Faxon will accompany her on accordion. The Rev. Robert R. Kyte of First Church will welcome the gathering.
The Finnish folk dance group Revontulet from Fitchburg, MA will perform inside the Meetinghouse for the second year. “Revontulet”, meaning Northern Lights, has been performing for more than 50 years, dedicated to the promotion of Finnish dance traditions. The dances, music and traditional dress are those worn in Finland during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Midsummer celebrates the summer solstice, when daylight lasts until late in the evening. In parts of Northern Europe the sun never sets this time of the year. On Midsummer Eve, each community will raise a Midsummer Pole decorated with birch branches and wildflowers. Families gather to enjoy an afternoon of traditional music and dancing.
First Church parishioners will raise the Midsummer Pole on the Meetinghouse Common in front of the First Church in Jaffrey, which is two miles west of the junction of Routes 202 and 124 in downtown Jaffrey. Wildflower wreaths will be available for people to wear. There will be live music and dancing, and cookies and lemonade will be served.
In the Swedish tradition, First Church on Sunday, June 23 will celebrate St. John the Baptist Sunday, commemorating the date of his birth in the church calendar.