Online songs

You can meet Carl Sandburg, Jenny Lind and many more online

Bishop Hill Heritage Association in partnership with History In Person, is hosting a Virtual Chautauqua online for three nights, March 7-9.

You can meet poet Carl Sandburg, Swedish nightingale Jenny Lind, folklorist Peter Christian Asbjornsen (author of the Pippi Longstocking books), Astrid Lindgren, workers’ rights activist Joe Hill and Bishop Hill founder Jonas Olson.

The free live stream program begins at 6 p.m. each evening with live Q&A after each performance. Sign up on the Facebook History in Person page ( and subscribe to History In Person YouTube Channel.

It will be broadcast live on both platforms, but subscription is essential to receive notifications and to tune in more easily on the evening of the program, according to a press release on Wednesday. Only those who register in advance will also have access to one of the six videos for a week after the live event. Visit the event page HERE for more details.

Brian “Fox” Ellis will play one of the founders of Bishop Hill, Jonas Olson.

This year’s Chautauqua performances include Bishop Hill-related characters and other famous Swedes. The goal is a deep dive into his Swedish heritage and the more universal story of what it means to be an immigrant American. The schedule is:

  • Monday, March 7, 6 p.m. — Brian “Fox” Ellis will play one of the founding fathers of Bishop Hill, Jonas Olson. Olson gave Eric Janson a head start in the devotional movement in Sweden, then helped organize the council that ran the colony after Janson’s assassination. Hear the story of Bishop Hill’s founding and demise. Hear the scoop on the 1850 murder of Eric Janson at the Cambridge Courthouse.
Bucky Halker
  • Monday, March 7, 7 p.m. — Bucky Halker will tell the story of Joe Hill, a Swedish immigrant and labor activist who was immortalized in song. Halker will weave the story of Joe Hill’s life with some of the songs he is remembered for.
  • Tuesday, March 8, 6 p.m. – Barry Cloyd will play Carl Sandburg, Poet Laureate of Illinois, whose sister taught at Bishop Hill School – where the young poet would perform for his sister’s classes.
Barry Cloyd
  • Tuesday, March 8, 7 p.m. — Paula Vankuren will portray world-renowned singer, The Swedish Nightingale, Jenny Lind. Her performance will include songs by Felix Mendelssohn, who had a crush on the young singer. And she’ll reveal a secret about Hans Christian Anderson and the inspiration for Disney’s modern classic, “Frozen.”
  • Wednesday, March 9, 6 p.m. – Brian “Fox” Ellis will play scholar Peter Christian Asbjornsen, who was a friend of the Brothers Grimm, collected Scandinavian folklore and was one of the first to draw connections between ecology and folklore, and how the ecosystem influences culture.
Kay Price
  • Wednesday, March 9, 7 p.m. — Kay Price will bring to life Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish author of many award-winning books, including Pippi Longstocking. Lindgren toured the United States 50 years ago and wrote insightful essays on American culture.

This free public event is sponsored by the Bishop Hill Heritage Association, American-Scandinavian Foundation, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), Bill and Susan Sherrard Foundation, SWEA -Chicago and the Twinflower Inn Bed and Breakfast.

For more information, call 309-927-3899, visit or email [email protected]