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Finland 100 events just keep coming

Those of you who didn't attend the June 9 performance of the Naantali Concert Choir missed a very wonderful concert! While many of us in the audience didn't understand their Finnish words, we definitely and very thoroughly enjoyed their music. This a cappella choir sang in parts, without accompaniment, and with such great spirit. They are probably the most fantastic a cappella choir I've ever experienced! I heard that same comment from several people after this concert. Most of the choir members did speak English, even if haltingly, and they were interesting to talk with after the concert. They were very down-to-earth Finns who were also interested in us and our Duluth area. I just wish the weather had been nicer (it was too foggy) and their stay longer, so the choir members could have really seen Lake Superior and the Duluth/Northshore area to experience the many similarities between here and Finland.

To all those who attended the concert and especially those involved in making and hosting the luncheon, the choir sent their thanks for "making the Naantali singers feel welcome! [Choir members] couldn't stop talking (about) how warmly you welcomed them, how tasty the food was (loved the story about someone guarding the meat pot all night long!) and how engaged the audience was during the concert." This was a memorable, wonderful "Finland 100" event and a great way to meet and spend some time with our Finland friends!

There are going to be more exciting Finland 100 events coming throughout this year and I encourage you to attend and take advantage of each of them to strengthen and share your Finnish heritage and ties to Finland! Here are some of the events coming up.

On Sunday, July 9, the Finnish Americans and Friends Chapter of the Finlandia Foundation National (Hibbing) invite you to a wonderful concert to celebrate Finland's 100th anniversary. The concert will be held from 1-2 p.m. at Gethsemene Lutheran Church, 901 Fourth St., Virginia, and will feature internationally-known pianist, Kati Arikoski-Johnson, who will present a program of music by Sibelius, Madetoja, and Rautavaara. Suggested donation is $10 and a reception will follow the concert. Everyone is encouraged and invited to attend. Don't miss this great opportunity!

Another fantastic musical concert starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at Kenwood Lutheran Church, 2720 Myers Ave., Duluth. The "Newlands Co-op" program will be presented by Sara Pajunen, a Finnish-American from Northern Minnesota, and Vidar Skrede, who hails from southwestern Norway. Using violin, harding fiddle, guitar and vocals, Vidar and Sara will bring the traditional music brought by immigrants from Norway and Finland. Suggested donation is $10 and a reception to visit with friends and to meet Sara and Vidar will follow the concert. This Finland 100 event is sponsored by the Ladies of Kaleva Aallottaren Tupa #15, Duluth, and is a fundraiser for the Knights and Ladies of Kaleva Grand Lodge Convention which will be held in Duluth in June 2018. Everyone is encouraged to come and celebrate Finland's 100th anniversary with some wonderful music!

Mark your calendar to celebrate Aug. 28 at the "100 Day Countdown" to Finland's Independence Day! Held at Sampo Beach, 7095 Saginaw Road in Saginaw, this "Countdown" celebration will start at 4 p.m. with music by the Kantele group and the Järvenpää Singers. The meal of "Arne Heikkila's New York Style Chicken Dinner" will start at 5 p.m. and will include BBQ chicken (prepared on site with hardwood on large grills), potatoes, coleslaw, dinner rolls, lemonade, coffee and dessert. The price is $13 per person and tickets will be sold from August 1-19. (Contact Elaine at 218-525-4435 or Arlene at tuck5080@yahoo.com for tickets.) Don't forget to bring your lawn chairs!

Watch for information on the following and other events in the upcoming months including a September concert of Finnish music at the Weber Music Hall; the annual Pikkujoulu Celebration on Sunday, Dec. 3 sponsored by the Minnesota Finnish American Historical Society (MFAHS); a Yhdessä - Together! - Art Exhibit starting Dec. 6 at the Duluth Art Institute; and the Itsenäisyyspäiväjuhla "Independence Day Celebration" at the Duluth Depot Dec. 6. Be sure to mark these dates on your calendar and make plans to attend! Further information about these and other events will be coming.

We're celebrating Finland the whole year! Please plan to join us at these wonderful events to immerse yourself in the music, history, and heritage of Finland!

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