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Keep our Finnish heritage alive!

The Newlands Co-op music concert in July by Sara Pajunen and Vidar Skrede was absolutely wonderful and very enlightening! It was so refreshing to hear new and different Nordic music, songs I've never heard before, music not played with accordion, kantele, or other instruments I usually hear playing Finnish music in our locale. Sara and Vidar's music was like getting a "taste" of something super delicious, and it left me wanting to hear more and more until I was filled up with wonderful music!

However, the lack of a good attendance was very disappointing. I hear all the time about "keeping our Finnish heritage alive" and "passing our Finnish heritage to our children and grandchildren," but when wonderful opportunities come along, where are the people to do the work, to attend, and to bring their families and friends? If we don't support and attend these events and opportunities, the different groups will quit bringing them.

This doesn't just apply to Finnish activities either. It applies to community events, group activities, special celebrations of all kinds. I know of some events that are in danger of not being held again because of the lack of workers and/or attendance. If these events and activities are important to us, we need to be there willing to work and willing to attend and support. We need to work together to keep and support these opportunities or they will disappear. And if we lose them because of this lack, then we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Speaking of is what's coming up in the Finnish community during August and beyond.

Soon we can celebrate the "100 Day Countdown" to Finland's Independence Day! Make plans to enjoy the "Arne Heikkila's New York Style Chicken Barbeque Dinner" which will be held Monday, Aug. 28, at Sampo Beach, 7095 Saginaw Road, Saginaw. The event starts at 4 p.m. with music by the Järvenpää Singers and Kantele group, followed by dinner at 5 p.m. featuring BBQ chicken, potatoes, cole slaw, dinner rolls, dessert, coffee, and lemonade, all for $13. Sponsored by the Minnesota Finnish American Historical Society (MFAHS), tickets will be available Aug. 1-19 by contacting Elaine (218-525-4435) or Arlene ( Get your tickets soon and plan to enjoy this wonderful evening with friends and family! Don't forget to bring a lawn chair!

Most of the Knights and Ladies of Kaleva groups take the summer off from meetings. However, two groups will meet in August. The Duluth Ladies of Kaleva Aallottaren Tupa #15 will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, at Sampo Beach for an informal meeting and potluck supper. They encourage all interested persons and possible new members to attend! For more information, contact Arlene (

The Ely Ladies of Kaleva Vellamon Tupa #4 will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, at the Grahek Apartments Community Room. Possible new members are also invited to come and enjoy the program and learn about the group. For more information, contact Sally (

The Ely Finnish Summer Choir will reorganize for rehearsals during August to practice for September singing engagements. For more information, contact David (

If you want to practice speaking Finnish, a group of people meet every Thursday from 1-3 p.m. for a conversational Finn class at the Nelimark Farm in Embarrass. You are invited to come and join the fun!

Looking ahead, here are some special events to put on your calendar and make plans to attend. More information will be coming soon.

Sept. 29 — Webber Music Hall, UMD: Runebergskören BSB, a Swedish speaking male choir from Porvoo, Finland.

Nov. 18 — Cloquet Library at 10:30 a.m.: "Songs from Grandpa: Celebrating Finland's Independence through Music," a reunion of the Santa family's "Third Generation" music group with Gregg Santa, of the Norwegian National Opera Chorus, and Jeanne Doty, retired UMD professor of music.

Dec. 3 — Holiday Inn, Duluth: Annual MFAHS Pikkujoulu celebrating Finland's Centennial.

Dec. 6 — Duluth Depot: Itsenäisyyspäiväjuhla Celebration of Finland's 100th Anniversary.

Dec. 6 to Jan. 2 — Duluth Art Institute: "Yhdessä! Together" art exhibit.

I strongly encourage you to support as many of these events are you are able! "Yhdessä - Together" is the theme for this year's celebration of Finland's 100th anniversary, and here in northern Minnesota, "together" we can work to keep our Finnish heritage alive and healthy. "Together" we can pass on to our children and grandchildren our love, respect, and honor of our Finnish heritage. Let's work, enjoy and support these and other Finnish and community events — TOGETHER!