Arts and Entertainment

Smile, it's polka music


Staff Writer

If you thought polka music was old-fashioned, you haven’t met the Smilin’ Scandinavians.

The polka band is set to take the stage next Wednesday at the next Steel Lake Park summer concert series show sponsored by the city of Federal Way. The concert is free and will begin at 6:30 p.m. All ages are invited to attend.

Toby Hanson, lead singer and accordion player for the band, says that people have a common misconception about polka music, but the Smilin’ Scandinavians play dance, country and Latin music.

Polka music is lively and upbeat, said drummer Eric Cohn.

The music is fun and gets people to move, said tuba player Mike Woolf.

The band, founded by Hanson, began doing the polka in 1994. Other band members include Jack Lafond (banjo) and Eric Likkel (clarinet and saxophone).

Hanson, who has played the accordion for 16 years, saw his uncle playing the instrument and found it to be unique and fun to play.

Hanson says people experience things culturally that they never have before when they listen to polka music.

“Playing polka is fun and energetic,” he said.

The Smilin’ Scandinavians have played the Angle Lake International Festival and the Federal Way Family festival. It is fun to be with people enjoying themselves “and that we get to be a part of that celebration,” said Cohn.

Woolf said he hopes people dance during the band’s performance and come away happier.

More information on the Smilin’ Scandinavians is available at

Janica Lockhart is a new intern. She can be reached at 925-5565 and by e-mail at

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