Sylvia's Bands, Washington and Arizona.
Sylvia sang with her dad’s band as soon as she could talk and learned to schottische at 5 years of age. She enjoyed several instruments: flute lessons at age 8, violin at age 9, piano when 10, and accordion at age 12. She took accordion lessons from Hugo Helmer, a Swedish emigrant. She was one of the youngest members of the Hugo Helmer's (marching) Accordion Band as a 6th grader. The band played for dances and marched in parades as far away as Seattle, and BC Canada. Sylvia formed her own band with up to seven members called "Sylvia's Orchestra.” They played for grange dances and high school proms throughout several counties from the time she was in the 8th grade to high school graduation. She worked her way through college playing as a Scandinavian band for Sons of Norway. She attended Pacific Lutheran University and Western WA College of Education. She became an elementary vocal music specialist in Clover Park School District and Puyallup Schools.
Sylvia's husband, Ron (Gus) Storaasli, (deceased) whom she met and married in college, taught mathematics and coached at Lakes High School in Clover Park Schools. They had four sons, Ronny (Ragnar), Randy, Rick, and Russ. Sylvia retired from music while raising the boys but continued her career teaching in 2nd and 3rd grades. She loved using a lot of music in her classroom in specialized subjects. She then taught several years at Pacific Lutheran University teaching prospective teachers how to use music in the classroom.
Sylvia always enjoyed singing in choirs in church, high school and college. She directed Elementary School choirs, grades 5-6 grade and wrote and directed the all-district Bicenntenial Program for Puyallup Schools in 1976. She formed and directed a youth choir at church called,"The Pilgrim Singers." Her beloved "Daddy" passed away in 1961 at age 52 and she vowed to keep the music going in his memory.
In 1983, Sylvia started a Scandinavian-American dance band and called it "Sylvia and Fjordsong." Her brother Paul Johnson, became her drummer. A repertoire of polka and country music was added in1986. In 1992 and 1994, the band began traveling. They played in Upsalla and Stockholm, Sweden, and Parunka, and Vasa, Finland. They played three times for K.I.O.T.A C in BC Canada. The band played many years for the Scandinavian Heritage Festival at the Puyallup WA Fairgrounds but presented their programs from Washington to Florida also. Their favorite musical program is ”An Emigrant Story" which they performed in Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Arizona. The music of all Scandinavian countries is represented in their programs.
Among Sylvia's favorite songs are: Life in the Finnish Woods (Livet i Finnskogarna), Nidelven, Greet the Folks at Home (Hals fra meg der hjemme), and Meet Me in Stockholm, Baby. Sylvia is a member of Sons of Norway, Order of Vasa, and the Swedish-Finn Historical Society. She enjoys genealogy and has written articles for the SFHS newsletter after researching family roots in Norway, Finland, and the United States.
Sylvia and her husband, Don Jorgensen, divide time between Puyallup, Washington and Mesa, Arizona.
Lou had his drumming experience in the mid-west but now lives and plays drums in the Valley of the Sun, Arizona. He plays with Sylvia's Arizona Band when a live drummer is desired for Polka Dances. He is also a fine singer and especially shines at singing old time waltzes and polkas. He is always in demand and plays for several other bands in the area. He and his wife, Janette, live in Peoria , Arizona.
Paul, drummer extraordinaire, grew up with music. He is Sylvia's brother and enjoyed all of the Johnson family music activities with his dad (Sig Johnson accordionist), and sisters, Sylvia and Sharon, and brother Steve. He drummed at an early age and played with the Mount Vernon High School Band and Hugo Helmer's Accordion Band. He played through college as a member of the Crossfires Dance Band at Washington State University. He drummed many years with his dad's dance band and began playing with Sylvia's band in 1984 when it was known as Sylvia and Company. He has played through the years with Sylvia and Fjordsong and Sylvia's Ya Sure Ya Betcha bands. He has played polka festivals with Sylvia's bands in Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Laughlin NV, Oregon, Washington, and in Arizona for special occasions. He also plays with local area bands in Washington. Paul is a retired Industrial Arts teacher. He taught high school in the Shoreline School District and received Industrial Arts Teacher of the Year award for the State of Washington. He also taught at Burlington High School and for the Whidbey Island School District. He and his wife, Sally, both retired, enjoy gardening on their beautiful 5-acre ranch in Bow, WA.
Growing up in the Midwest area, Don began his music career playing with a polka/dance trio in high school. After graduation he enrolled in college and spent summers on the road with a rock/show group. He played with local bands throughout the year. He was then drafted into the Army. He was subsequently sent to Germany where he played with a jazz band at Army Clubs in Frankfurt and other cities. After the service, Don played with bands on weekends and completed his college education earning both a Bachelors Masters Degrees. He is a retired school teacher. He taught General Music in a JR high school and then transferred to a high school. Changing careers within a career, he finished his tenure teaching many varied courses in the High Schools’ Business Department. He also taught classical, jazz, pop, and beginning guitar at a local University for many years and privately. Don currently lives in Illinois and winters in Arizona. He has played with a number of different bands in the East Valley for a number of years. He will be playing part-time with Sylvia’s AZ Band and Sylvia’s GF Tues Variety Band.
Carl's father was born in Sweden and his mother in Finland. They emigrated and settled in St. Mary's, Idaho where Carl was born. He learned to speak Finnish in the home. After high school graduation, Carl went to school in Texas where he got his airplane mechanic license. He owned a professional aerial crop dusting business in Pullman, WA. He flew for thirty five years without an accident. His music career began when he learned to play fiddle in grade school and later added guitar and banjo. He has attended polka festivals all over the United States and was a personal friend of Frankie Yankovic. He had his own band in the Spokane area before joining Sylvia's Fjordsong Band in 1986. He has traveled with the band throughout the United States, and to Canada, and Scandinavian countries. Carl plays part-time with Sylvia's Band in AZ and plays for The Cowboy Church of Casa Grande, AZ. He also for many senior homes, entertaining the folks with old time music.
David Salge.- Saxophone and Clarinet Resume pending
Jim Baum - Saxophone and Button Box (known as "JUST JIM" ) Resume pending