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 played several instruments: flute lessons starting at age 8, violin at age 9, piano when 10, and accordion at age 11. 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 Canada BC.. While still in Jr. High, 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. She worked her way through college playing for dances.Here father was always there to help her set up for the dances. She attended Pacific Lutheran University for two years and then transferred to Western WA College where she achieved a BA in Music Education. She worked as an Elementary Music Specialist in Clover Park and Puyallup School districts and later worked as a classroom teacher for 7 years. She also taught a night class at Pacific Lutheran University for 2 seasons instructing students on way to use music in the classroom. She went back for more music education at the U of Washington and later received a Master of Music degree at Pacific Lutheran University under the supervision of Mr. Gordon Gilbertson.
Sylvia's first husband was Ron (Gus) Storaasli, (deceased) whom she met and married in college. He taught mathematics and coached at Hutlof Jr High and Lakes High School in Clover Park Schools. They had four sons,Ragnar (Ron), Randy, Rick, and Russell. Sylvia's 2nd husband is Don Jorgensen whom she met at polka dances. Don is a retiree from administration at United Parcel Service. He is an avid dancer and her No.1 fan.
Sylvia has 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. Sylvia changed gears after meeting Carl Nyberg in 1986 who was a fiddle and guitar player from Pullman. Her emphasis now became polka and country music. She formed a new band including Lyle Schaefer -fill accordion, Carl Nyberg, and Darlene Jones, drummer. They began a long run playing old time and polka music at the Big Johns' Beanery Restaurant in Renton and for polka clubs at a dance hall in Algona . In 1992, the band began traveling. They played in Upsalla and Stockholm Sweden, and Parunka, and Vasa, Finland and played three times for K.I.O.T.A.C, an old time accordion festival in BC Canada. The band played many years for the Scandinavian Heritage Festival at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. Sylvia bought a converted 35 ft bus and the band traveled many states including a month tour to Florida..Their favorite musical program was "An Emigrant Story" which they performed in Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Arizona. The music of all Scandinavian countries and lots of old time polka music was part of 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.She has composed numerous songs and enjoys arranging music.
Guitar, Banjo, Vocals
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 School 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 plays part-time with Sylvia's AZ Band and other venues. .
DAVID SALGE - Saxophone and Clarinet. David hails from Texas originally, and resides now in Gig Harbor, WA. He is profcient in many styles of music. . He and Sylvia do many Oktoberfests in the FALL.
JIM BAUM - Saxophone and Button Box Jim is from Billings, Montana where he has played with various bands and has a band of his own. He plays during winter months with Sylvia's Arizona Band.