Spring in Scandinavia

Spring in Scandinavia, Original Artwork by Corrie Frank

ASTER Women’s Chamber Choir is delighted to be presenting a program of pieces which celebrate the return of Spring in Scandinavia. Many of the pieces we will sing are choral arrangements of folk songs. Folk songs, folk dances and folk arts and crafts offer people an insight into the distinctive ‘personalities’ of the countries where they originated. Percy Scholes said in his article on Folk Song in The Oxford Companion to Music that folks songs are “….seen as the authentic expression of a way of life now past ….” Most traditional folk songs are very old and have been passed down from one generation to another by oral tradition. They were sung by the plain folk. People who are of Scandinavian ancestry will want to make a special effort to attend this concert to hear the music that their great-grandparents might have heard or sung.

In order to learn these pieces, ASTER is collaborating with guest artist Dr. Riikka Pietaläinen-Caffrey on our “Springtime in Scandinavia” concerts. Riikka is from Finland and has made arrangements of several Finnish folk songs for the choir to perform. She is an amazing and enthusiastic diction coach, which is very good, because most people in the choir do not speak Swedish, Finnish or Norwegian!

In addition to the folk music, you will hear pieces by Sibelius, Grieg, Anders Edenroth (from the contemporary Swedish a cappella group The Real Group) AND a set of pieces composed for the choir by Broomfield resident Alex Craig called “Astersongs” and an original composition by Dr. Riikka Pietaläinen-Caffrey based on a poem written by her grandmother.

with guest artists
Margot Krimmel, Celtic Harp, Beth Gadbaw vocals and Bodhran,
Jean Ballhorn, Fiddle and Natalie Bixler, Irish Step Dancer.

Gadbaw & Krimmel

Gadbaw & Krimmel

The program will include the Welsh lullaby Suo Gan, Morning Has Broken -the hymn Cat Stevens made famous in the 70’s, along with Irish Blessing, and Danny Boy, the most famous song of farewell ever sung. ASTER will also offer some new very lively pieces, The Rattlin’ Bog and Stuttering Lovers.

The always delightful Gadbaw and Krimmel have been crowd pleasers on several previous ASTER concerts. Beth Gadbaw came of age traveling from pub to folk club in the West of Ireland and the South of England. Harpist Margot Krimmel is the winner of first place medals in the Pop and Harp Jazzfest and the Colorado Scottish Highlands Games. Their original carol, The Donkey and the Doves, was voted in as one of Colorado Public Radio’s Top Fifty Carols.

This family friendly program is appropriate for children ages 7 and older.

Friday, November 8th at 7:30 PM at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boulder
2200 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302 (NE corner of Pine and Broadway)

Saturday, November 9th at 2 PM at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter
1700 W 10th Ave, Broomfield, CO 80020 (SW corner of 10th Avenue and Highway 287)

Admission: $12 adults, $8 students and seniors, $5 children 12 and under.
Tickets available at brownpapertickets.com or at the door. (Advance purchase is advised.)

ASTER is holding auditions for the upcoming concert season. The choir rehearses on Tuesday evenings in Broomfield beginning on September 3rd.

Our Fall concert will be a Celtic Celebration with guests Margot Krimmel and Beth Leachman. Performances will be on Friday, November 8th and Saturday, November 9th.

Please call Christina Lynn-Craig at 303-466-2879 to schedule an audition. The Spring concerts will be “Spring in Scandinavia” with guest conductor Dr. Riikka Pietilainen-Caffrey on Saturday, May 17th and another date TBA.

Saturday April 27, 2013, 7:30PM

Broomfield Auditorium
3 Community Park Rd
Broomfield, Colorado

A tribute to the wonderful close harmonies of the Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters and the jazzy melodies of Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Jeanine Tesori and other composers whose music makes us want to “Misbehave!”

Apollo Brass

With special guests Apollo Chamber Brass Quintet. Those who have heard the Apollo Chamber Brass in concert with ASTER before know this is an event you don’t want to miss!

Admission: $15/adults, $10 students/seniors

Advanced purchase highly recommended. Tickets will be availble at the door.

Tickets available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/312804

The joint will be jumpin’!!

Christmas in Scandinavia

Saturday, December 1st, 2012
2 PM
Church of the Holy Comforter

A family concert (for ages 6 and above)

Come hear stories and beautiful music from Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden!

Featuring Special Guest Riikka Pietiläinen-Caffrey

Admission $10 adults
$5 seniors/students
with canned food donation for FISH


Dr. Riikka Pietiläinen-Caffrey was born in Kemi, Finland, one hundred kilometers below the Arctic Circle. Riikka moved to Helsinki at the age of sixteen to attend the prestigious Sibelius High School. In high school, Riikka sang in choirs with one of the leading figures of the Finnish choral tradition, Marjukka Riihimäki. After high school, Riikka toured the world with Marjukka’s world-renowned female choir Philomela.

In the fall of 2001 Riikka moved to New York to study saxophone at the City College of New York. While in college Riikka drifted back to her first love, choral music, and founded her own female choir Las Sirenas. In the spring of 2005 Las Sirenas performed Riikka’s composition Viel valkee aamu, which was based on the war-time pomes of her grandmother. The nine-movement composition was composed for female choir and percussion, and choreographed by Riikka’s high school friend Hanna Kivioja.

After her bachelor’s degree Riikka moved to Boulder to continue graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Colorado. During her doctoral studies she was the conductor of the University Women’s Chorus. Riikka has also been working as the Coordinator of Traditional Worship at Broomfield United Methodist Church since 2008. Riikka holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the City College of the City University of New York, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Colorado.

About this concert:
I first sung these carols with Marjukka Riihimäki at Sibelius High School in Helsinki. While quite a few years have passed since those days, when I sing any of these songs, I can still picture my fellow singers and my wonderful mentor. I wish that with this traditional repertoire, I can share my love for Finnish choral music and female choirs with both the singers and audience

Aster Small Group Picture

Aster Small Group

The Two Sarahs

The two Sarahs, played by Mariena Richards and Sarah Kochevar

Quiltin' and Dreamin' on the Prarie (2)

Quiltin' and Dreamin' on the Prairie (2)

Aster Small Group (2)

Aster Small Group (2)

Our First CD!

Endless ChainASTER is pleased to announce the release of our first CD, Endless Chain. This recording represents the endless chain of music handed down from one generation to the next, and how thankful we are for the many singers and musicians who have given of their time and talent to make this vision a reality. It is ASTER’s hope that we will be able to spread this music all across the country to people who would never be able to attend our concerts, as well as sharing it with our loyal fans here in Colorado.

Learn more, listen to samples, order your copy!

Endless Chain

Songs of Comfort, Joy & Inspiration

Endless ChainASTER is pleased to announce the release of our first CD! Endless Chain contains sixteen songs highlighting the past eight years of ASTER Women’s Chamber Choir performances.

“It’s been a dream of mine for many years,” says Christina Lynn-Craig, ASTER’s founder and artistic director. “I’m thrilled to have such talented and dedicated women to work with to perform such beautiful music. I’m so pleased with the quality of the CD and excited we’re now able to share our music with everyone!”

Endless Chain is a collection of the very best of the melting pot that is America. Selections include lullabies from Scotland and Wales, folksongs from Ireland, Norway and Scotland, hymns from many traditions, settings of Lynn-Craig’s Old Wives’ Tales and two of ASTER’s all-time favorites: Endless Chain, Pete Sutherland’s tribute to quilters and O Unico Amore, a piece by Boulder composer Kathleen Fagre commissioned by ASTER to honor Mother Cabrini.

Special Price!

CDs are available for $10.00 (plus $5.00 S&H).

Acceptance MarkOrdering via PayPal is secure, and you can use your credit card. If you prefer, you can send your check for $20.00 ($15.00 + $5.00 S&H) made out to ASTER to:
c/o 1370 Holly Drive West
Broomfield, CO 80020

Endless Chain is also available at these retail outlets:


Track Listing

  1. The Robin’s My Criterion for Tune
  2. How Can I Keep from Singing?
  3. O Unico Amore
  4. Sneezes I
  5. Flow Gently Sweet Afton
  6. Sneezes II
  7. Charladies’ Ball
  8. Three Butterflies Together
  9. Dream Angus
  10. De Norske Fjeld
  11. Touch Blue
  12. When Will We Be Married?
  13. Suo Gan
  14. Don’t Sing at the Table
  15. As Sisters in Zion
  16. And Ain’t I a Woman?
  17. Jacob’s Ladder
  18. Nothing Between
  19. We’ll Understand It Better By and By
  20. Endless Chain

ASTER Women’s Chamber Choir is a small (16-24 voice) women’s ensemble whose mission is exploring women’s lives and music. The group honors women who came before them by singing music composed by women, music which sets poetry by women, and traditional songs women sang while they worked, worshiped, and performed in concert halls.

ASTER Women's Chamber Choir

Ione Caley

On Dec. 23, 2003, ASTER lost one of its much loved members, Ione Caley. She contributed so much to the organization and the group loved her dearly. We will miss her greatly.

Ione Caley

Tributes from Ione’s friends and fellow “ASTERoids”

From Sarah:

When my father died in March (2003), we decided to put off his memorial service until his birthday in May. I called Ione one evening to see if she had any music that might be appropriate to sing at his memorial. She said she’d look through what she had and get back to me. She called me the next morning and sang through each piece she had found (and there were many!) and then faxed them to me. What a treat it was to have Ione sing to me at 9 AM!

From Colleen:

I had the pleasure of knowing Ione for only a year. During that time, I would not have known from her own behavior that she was ill. She was an example of the patient endurance that this “Motto of Teresa of Avila” expresses:

Let nothing disturb you,
Nothing affright you;
All things are passing;
God never changes;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesses
In nothing is wanting;
God alone suffices.

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