George Weston Recital Hall was filled with traditional Finnish melodies as the Sounds of Finland concert took over Finland's centennial celebration in Toronto. The afternoon was characterized by both traditional and classical Finnish music with the works of composers such as Jean Sibelius, Fredrik Pacius and Kaija Saariaho. Performers included musicians and artists from a broad range of talent with an orchestra, a choir, soloists and pianists. The traditional Finnish kantele was apparent both at the beginning and during the concert, as the kantele group Agricola Kantele Players welcomed the audience to the concert hall.

The afternoon included performances from soloists Karen Davidson, Gail Hakala, Carla Huhtanen, Miriam Kemppainen, Norman Nurmi and Marianne Puiras. In addition, the Toronto Finnish Male Singers performed the songs Suomen laulu and Isänmaalle. Along with the Toronto Finnish Male Singers the concert featured the Suomi 100 Choir, which performed the Finnish classic Täällä Pohjantähden alla accompanied by Tapio Rukkila with solo performances by Gail Hakala and Norman Nurmi.

Among the highly anticipated performers was the internationally acclaimed soprano Carla Huhtanen who presented the Leino-laulut collection by Kaija Saariaho. She was accompanied by Adam Sherkin.

The concert concluded with Lili Ahopelto's magnificent performance of Jean Sibelius' Finlandia with the Suomi 100 Choir. As expected, Ahopelto's performance was followed by Finland's national anthem Maamme which all of the afternoon's performers sang together along with the audience.

One of the concert's organizers, Paul Hietala, estimates that around 450 guests attended the concert.

"We are very happy with the outcome and have received plenty of positive feedback for the event."

According to Hietala, no other previous event has gathered the Finnish community in Toronto in such a large scale. Such cooperation between the Finns enabled the guests and the organizers to network in a previously unseen way.

Text and photo: Arttu Manninen

Lue koko suomenkielinen artikkeli Kanadan Sanomien uusimmasta numerosta 7/2017!

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