Riverton Musical Memories
Riverton Transportation & Heritage Centre
2. Musical Mates
At a very young age the Johannesson family, Johnny, Kris, Dorothy, Sella, Kristine and Laugi along with a very close friend Harold Bjornson, became known as "Johnny and his Musical Mates". During this time they released three recordings "Gimli Waltz", "Riverton Waltz" and "The Musical Mates Favorites". Although death has seperated some of its original members, their love and devotion for each other remains strong, as expressed in the following requiem to Laugi, Kristine and Johnny:
No Length of time can dim the past
For precious memories hold fast
So as you were you will always be
A wonderful part of our memory
Various musicians have played with the orchestra in the past years such as Johnny's son Elvin Johannesson on drums, Daisy Jonasson on piano, Paul Luprypa on mandolin, Alex Rundle on accordion, John Luprypa on violin, Clarence Legary on saxophone, and many more.
4"The Musical Mates"
Kris Johannesson, Dorothy (Johannesson) Johnson, Sella (Johannesson) Benedictson, Harold Bjornson and Dick Johnson.
6Laugi and Johnny Johannesson passed away eight months apart, in 1994.
Before their demise, the two brothers asked their brother and sisters to carry on the family tradition as long as they could.
Without Johnny and Laugi, the orchestra became known as "The Musical Mates".
In June of 1999, the family lost another family member, their sister Kristine.
The three remaining family members, Kris, Dorothy and Sella, carry on the tradition with Dorothy's son, Dick and close family friend, Harold Bjornson.
The orchestra still entertains today for various community events.
8When the "Musical Mates" play, their music brings back memories of special times people have shared with friends and family.
9The ''Grand March''has always been a tradition to begin the Old Timer's Ball in the Gimli Pavillion.
10"THE GRAND MARCH"
What a way to start a genuine "Dancer's Ball", with style and tradition! The "Old Timer's Ball", was held in the Pavillion located in the heart of Gimli, Manitoba.
"THE GRAND MARCH" was the opening of a wonderful evening of fine music and dance. Experienced director, Gus Finnson, would instruct the crowd to join their arms and gently march to the music around the dance floor.
People travel from all over Manitoba to dance or watch the French Minuets, Heel toe, Schottishce, Seven step, Quadrille, Butterfly, Waltz, Reels, Tango and the ever-popular Polka. These were only part of the repertoire of the "Musical Mates".
13Gus Finnson has always been a devoted friend to "Johnny and his Musical Mates". After fifty years, he perserves the tradition of calling the square dance for "Musical Mates". Gus has been a very important part in organizing the Gimli Pavillion "Old Timer's Ball".
15The "Square Dance" is one of the highlights at the "Old Timer's Ball". The people enjoy dancing to the classic music and arrangement directed by Gus Finnson.
The audience will stop conversation, pull up to the dance floor and watch the procession of dancers passing from one person to the next. It surely makes for a fun time.
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