On the eve of Estonia’s 100th anniversary, we can fondly look back at celebrations marking Finland's own milestone last December. A joint Canadian Friends of Finland Ottawa and Canadian Nordic Society concert organized by Costa Kapsalis was held at the Unitarian Church in Ottawa Sat. Oct.21, 2017. The concert entitled "Nordic Favourites - A Musical Salute to Finland's 100th Anniversary"was sponsored by the Embassy of Finland and Ikea. His Excellency Vesa Lehtonen , the ambassador of Finland, and the Swedish ambassador, His Excellency Per Sjogren graced us with their presence.
The varied programme featured the Toronton Pelimannit Folk Ensemble led by Paul Hietala, a frequent performer in Ottawa. Paul is also the conductor of Vox Finlandia with whom the choir "Estonia "and this writer has collaborated many years. Their upbeat Scandinavian dance tunes presented on accordion, violin , guitar and voice had us all smiling and tapping our toes.
The Ottawa Finnish Singers directed by Margit Viia-Maiste presented Turunen's “Sunnuntai", Merikanto's "Laula tytto”, and the sentimental "Taalla pohjan tahden alla" by Laaksonen as well as a mostly a cappella Swedish piece by Alfven. All were accompanied by the well known and sensitive pianist Cecilia Ignatieff who herself performed a fiery rendition of Sibelius' "Romance" Op. 24 No. 9.
The programme was well rounded out, thanks to Costa, by two wonderful singers.Trygve Ringereide, a Norwegian tenor, selected works by Norwegian and Swedish composers, including the ever favourite Grieg "Solveig's sang" and Malmsten "Nuoruuden savel”.
The lovely soprano soloist, Shawne Elizabeth, presented Finnish songs: Kuula’s “Aamulaulu", and Merikanto's "Sina kullamurunen".
At the end all the performers joined in to sing the unaccompanied Sibelius "Finlandia" directed by M. Viia-Maiste followed by a sing along "Kotimaani ompi Suomi“ ( Finland is my homeland)
Ikea donated delicious refreshments for the reception that celebrated a joyous evening of Scandinavian music.