The 1988 Utah Governor's Folk Art Awards have been presented to a Provo musician, a Swiss chorus and a woman who has spent 10 years helping Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia, according to the Utah Arts Council.
The Swiss Chorus Edelweiss, originally formed in 1934 as an association to preserve and promote Swiss culture in Utah, was awarded the Governor's Cultural Heritage Award.Although the chorus was initially composed mostly of Utahns born in Switzerland, it now includes numerous second- and third-generation Swiss-Americans.
The group, featuring choir singing, yodeling, Swiss folk dances and performances on the alpenhorn, has performed nearly 500 concerts throughout Utah and annually performs at the Living Traditions Festival in Salt Lake City.
Provo singing instructor Merel Shumway, who received the seventh annual Governor's Folk Art Award, preserves and performs old-fashioned dances such as the Chicago glide and the rye waltz.
In addition to Utah pioneer standards such as the waltz and schottische, Shumway also plays numerous pioneer tunes on both piano and guitar.
Salt Lake resident Sandra Jenkins was awarded the Service to Folk Art award for her decade of work in helping Hmong refugees.
Jenkins is a co-founder, along with her husband, Scott, of the Hmong Heritage Foundation, which assists Hmong refugees in Utah to market their intricate embroidered needlework.
The Hmong tribe, which last lived in Laos, has been the subject of dozens of lectures and other presentations by Jenkins. She said the goal of the foundation is to assist the people in achieving self-sufficiency without abandoning their traditions.