FinnFest USA '99 NEWS:
Boys' Choir Debut
North American Debut Of Turku Cathedral Boys’ Choir At Finnfest USA ’99. The Boys’ Choir representing the 13th Century cathedral in Turku, Finland, to be featured at the seventeenth annual Finnish culture and heritage festival slated for July 22-25 in Seattle.
The Turku Cathedral Boys’ Choir, representing one of Finland’s most enduring landmarks, will be featured in the music program of FinnFest USA ’99, to be held on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, Washington, July 22-25, 1999.
The more than 40 boys, whose ages range from 8 to 20 years, comprise the group known also by their official Latin name, Chorus Cathedralis Luniorum. The choir’s repertoire includes choral compositions and masses by Mozart, Schubert, and Bach. FinnFest USA ’99 marks the choir’s North American debut, and builds on previous international exposure in Estonia, Sweden, Germany and England.
Accompanying the group will be Heikki Rainio, conductor, and Hannu Ilola, organist. Rainio, who assumed responsibilities as artistic leader of the choir in 1996, also serves as Music Director of the Maaria Church in Turku and a teacher of liturgic singing at the Turku Conservatory.
The group has kept a busy schedule since it beginnings in 1987. In addition to their concerts, the boys’ choir forms an essential part of the musical life of the cathedral through regular participation in its services and other religious events. In their daily routine of schoolwork, hobbies, sports, and home activities, the boys find time for twice-a-week rehearsals, which many supplement with regular music lessons. Despite these heavy demands on their personal time, Rainio and his group have managed to attract newcomers and to retain the veterans until adulthood robs the group of its senior members.
Rainio offers incentives, including summer and winter camps, concert tours abroad, and recordings. Nevertheless, the director believes that it is the recognition that comes from an extensive and demanding program well performed that accounts for the boys’ continuing commitment.
Last October, the choir released its second CD, entitled Personent Hodie! Joulumusiikkia Turun tuomiokirkosta (Personent Hodie! Christmas Music from the Turku Cathedral). Selections from Piae Cantiones, a collection of medieval choral music, are complemented by various Finnish and French Christmas carols. Production of the CD required all-night recording sessions in the
Cathedral. Otherwise, the rumble of traffic on the cobblestone streets surrounding the 13th Century structure would have produced an unwanted 20th Century background noise to their medieval musical selections. The 40 male voices undoubtedly would produce a pleasing sound at most any location, but their musical strains echoing through the heights of the Turku Cathedral lend a medieval authenticity to the choral sound in this recording.
The group is sponsored partly by Evangelical Lutheran congregations in and around Turku and partly by the choir’s own fundraising activities. In fact, part of the proceeds from holiday sales of the CD in Finland will subsidize the choir’s concert tour to the United States and Canada this summer.
In addition to their own performance at the three-day celebration of Finnish culture and heritage, the choir will participate in a joint concert with the Seattle Girls’ Chorus at FinnFest USA ’99.
FinnFest USA '99 News
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