The Finnish Heritage Museum in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, held its regular monthly meeting at 7 pm on Monday, October 12, 2015. (Our meetings are always held the second Monday of the month. If you are in the area, we would love to see you at one.) Because this year marks the 150th anniversary of Johan Julius Christian Sibelius’s birth in Hämeenlinna, north of Helsinki, our program celebrated the life of this most famous Finnish composer.
On her latest visit to Finland, Anne Kalliomaa Pohto, traveling with Amy Werronen Moyer, purchased a DVD called Visual journey to the music of Jean Sibelius. On the DVD were nine works by Sibelius, performed by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra - Osmo Vanskä, conductor; or the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – Neeme Jarvi, conductor. Anne brought the DVD to the meeting, and Heikki Penttila set up a DVD player so our museum members could listen to the music of Sibelius while watching pictures highlighting the beautiful archipelago of Finland. There were water plants and reeds, yellow fields of sunflowers, red poppies, red and green ferns, and, of course, water. There were haunting images of ice covered trees and reeds, swans in flight, and ice forming a canopy on trees in the forest. These images are completely appropriate for this anniversary year, as Sibelius loved nature, the wild and rugged areas of Finland, along with the beautiful flowers, fields, and lakes.
The last piece on the DVD was the most famous of Jean Sibelius’s works, Finlandia. Feet were tapping, and humming could be heard as many museum members remember well their time in Fairport Harbor’s high school band when band director Charles Luoma presented this composition every year in concert.
Before the program started, Museum President Lasse Hiltunen introduced to the group Miss Emily Stauch, a soprano and instructor at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She has performed and studied in both the U.S. and Europe, and has been a featured soloist in many venues. Miss Stauch enjoyed the music of Sibelius so much that she stayed for FHM’s refreshments and business meeting, mingling with the members.
During the short intermission after the Sibelius concert and before the business meeting, Virpi Buck, Anne Pohto, Bill Luoma, and Ken Quiggle provided refreshments to members and guests. President Lasse Hiltunen called the business meeting to order at approximately eight pm.