My brother Walfrid just emailed me the news that Finnfest USA 2015 will be coming to Buffalo, New York. All righty! I am putting October 8-12, 2015, on my Google Calendar as a must attend event.
Not only is Buffalo only 3 hours away from my home in Brecksville, OH, by car via I-90, but FinnFest USA 2015 will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Jean Sibelius’ birth. As all Finns and most people of Finnish ancestry know, Sibelius was a Finnish composer active in the early 20th century. He composed the symphonic tone poem, Finlandia, in 1899 amid nationalistic fervor in Finland, which was suffering under the yoke of Russian rule at the time. The composition stirred patriotic feelings whenever it was performed, so much so that it had to be performed under different names, e.g. Happy Feelings at the awakening of Finnish Spring and A Scandinavian Choral March. The composition has its own entry simply entitled Finlandia on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlandia. The Wikipedia entry for Sibelius is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Sibelius.
I must admit such a personal affinity for Finlandia that I use its opening measures as the ring tone on my Iphone.
In any case, there promises to be plenty of focus on Sibelius at the 2015 Finnfest USA. For example, we would expect performances of Sibelius music at Buffalo’s Kleinhans Music Hall by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, maybe on Saturday night. We took a peek at the 2014-2015 schedule for the BPO and discovered that the celebratory focus on Sibelius actually begins this year with “Ludwig Plays Sibelius,” in which former BPO concertmaster Michael Ludwig returns for two performances on December 7-8. He will play Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D minor on a concert that also features Sibelius’ The Swan of Tuonela. What might be in store during FinnFest attendees hasn’t been announced yet, but we can expect whatever it is to be a “hot tichet.”
I should note that Kleinhaus Music Hall is one of the official venues for FinnFest programming, along with the Hyatt Regency Buffalo/Hotel and Conference Center. Coincidentally, the music hall was designed by Finnish architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen, and is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its opening in 1940. It has been designated “one of the greatest concert halls in the United States.” If you are interested in seeing images of Kleinhans, go here: https://kleinhansbuffalo.org/.
I did a quick check on Google Maps and found that the two venues are 1.4 miles apart which is estimated to take 6 minutes to travel by car.
FinnFest USA 2015 would be my fourth FinnFest. My brother, Walfrid, and I attended FinnFest USA 1996 in Marquette, MI, and FinnFest 2007 in Ashtabula, OH, and I traveled to Houghton & Hancock, MI, for FinnFest USA 2013. The festival moves around the country and its complete history can be viewed at http://www.finnfestusa.org/about-us/history/past-locations.html. Wikipedia also has an informative entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FinnFest_USA.
The Huskonen family had a mini reunion at FinnFest 2007 in Ashtabula. Maybe we can organize another at FinnFest 2015.