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Finland 101 years - Independence Day Concert at St. Michael's

When the opportunity presented itself to host a Finnish Independence Day concert at St. Michael’s church, we did not hesitate to say “Yes, we’d love to do this!”. It took time and efforts of many volunteers to pull the event together, but the result was fantastic.

How did it start? Auroora Kiiski, a Finnish violinist based in the Montreal area reached out to our council chair with an idea that she and three colleagues of hers - known as the Festivo string quartet – could put together a concert for the Finnish Independence Day. They would play Finnish classical and traditional music, and some songs that the audience could sing along to. The church council quickly showed green light to the proposal and started planning!

Since we decided to stick to the actual date of the Independence Day, December 6th, and it fell on a weekday, the event had to be organized in the evening. What do you serve the concert guests in the evening? Coffee and pulla are the staples of festive Finnish tables, but perhaps a late-night coffee would not have been a good idea… So we decided to go fancy: wine and cheese with crackers! St. Michael's went all wild with this event and even took the ticket sales online –we wanted to practice for something bigger happening later this spring, stay tuned for that ;) Festivo was practicing hard and allowed us a sneak peek at what was coming –and we loved it! Then, just a couple of weeks before the concert, the element of surprise stepped in: Festivo string quartet had found a visiting double-bass player to join them for the concert! The Finnish double-bass player Eero Marttila was studying at McGill University and got recruited to accompany the quartet.

The concert was a big success and we couldn’t be happier. We had a full house, and lots of people stayed for the wine and cheese to chat and share their thoughts about the concert. We have prepared this video recap of the concert for you, dear reader, so that you can either get back into the spirit of the day or enjoy bits of the concert if you couldn’t be there in December.

Warm thanks to the Festivo String Quartet (Auroora Kiiski, violin; Aliza Thibodeau, violin; Victor De Coninck, viola; Emma Scmiedecke, violoncello) and Eero Marttila (double bass) for the beautiful and very professionally performed concert. It was a pleasure to have you in our church!


Preamble Ilona Dagnaud

Jean Sibelius Andante Festivo, Op. 117a (1865-1957)

Erkki Melartin String Quartet No. 4, F major (1875-1937) - Moderato

Jean Sibelius Impromptu, Op. 5, No. 5 and 6 (1865-1957) Jääkärien marssi

Valse Triste, Op. 44

Finnish Folksong On suuri sun rantas autius

V. A. Koskenniemi

Arr. Auroora Kiiski Finnish Folksong Medley - Tuoll´on mun kultani - En voi sua unhoittaa poijes - Läksin minä kesäyönä käymään - Säkkijärven polkka

Lasse Mårtenson Myrskyluodon Maija (1934-2016) Karl Collan Sylvian joululaulu (1828-1871) Sakari Topelius

Calixa Lavallée O Canada (1842-1891) Jean Sibelius Finlandia Hymn, Op. 26, No. 7 (1865-1957) Fredrik Pacius Maamme-laulu (1809-1891)

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