Finnish Choral Society of Seattle

Rehearsals on Mondays 7:00 PM
8504 13th Avenue NW, Seattle

Today is




The 41st Annual Kalevala Festival

at the Nordic Heritage Museum, March 26, 2017 at 1 30 PM



The Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, is a collection of ancient runes and song-poems compiled by Elias Lönnrot.  Lönnrot wrote down the long passages of folk poetry and  published them first as the Kalevala in 1835 with a revised publication in 1840. 


The Kalevala Festival in Seattle on March 26, 2017, is built on the tale sequences of Kalevala with the Finnish Choral Society singing choral compositions by noted composers Sibelius, Merikanto and others, set to lyrics from the Kalevala or Kanteletar. 


Our featured presenter is


Dr. Börje Vähämäki, the Centenary Lecturer of the Finlandia Foundation National, FFN.  Dr. Vähämäki is an official representative of their "Lecturer of the Year" program.  The Centenary Lecturers were established to celebrate Finland's 100th Anniversary.  The sponsorship by the Finlandia Foundation National of Dr. Vähämäki's transportation to and from Seattle is gratefully acknowledged. 


Dr. Vähämäki is a past professor of Finnish Studies at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis and of the Finnish Studies Program at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Vähämäki's speech on the 41st Kalevala Festival is titled:


"Kalevala and the World View of the Finns". 


It will be about Finnish Identity, how it has been formed by historical events and trends and by Finland’s geographical and political realities.


Other highlights of the Kalevala Festival include folkdancing by the local Finnish dance groups and instrumental performances by the Kalevala Trio (accordion, clarinet, cello) and kantele playing.


A social 1/2 hour starting at 1:30 PM kicks off the Festival with sahti (a traditional Finnish Brew, made by the Nordic Heritage Museum's brew club) and mini bites, followed with the program.


ENTRANCE - $15, Students $7.Tickets by Finnish Choral Society Singers or at the Door



Calendar subject to change



Date -Time













41st Annual Kalevala Festival

March 26, 1: 30 PM





Finnish Church Finland 100 Celebration at Church

Service at 10 AM

Concert at

April 23, 11;15 AM





Seattle Folklife Festival, Finland Showcase

May 29, 11:00 AM


Seattle Center

Center Theater

Heather, Maria


Kalevala Festival Songs



Kalevalainen runosävelmä (Kalevala)

John Sundsten


Kalevalainen vieraan tervehdys (Kalevala)

Ilmari Hannikainen


Siitä vanha Väinämöinen (Kalevala)

Juhani Pohjanmies


Lemminkäisen Äiti

Oskar Merikanto


Venematka (Kalevala)

Jean Sibelius


Saarella palaa (Kalevala)

Jean Sibelius


Louhen hyvästijättö tyttärelleen

Oskar Merikanto


Louhi ylistää Väinön suuruutta

Oskar Merikanto


Väinämöisen laulu



Suomen laulu

Fredrik Pacius



Jean Sibelius



Who are we?

We are a group of men and women who enjoy singing, especially Finnish choral music, for ourselves and our listeners’ pleasure. People in our choir range in age from the teens up to 90. Most of us have some connection with Finnish culture such as ancestry, travel, study, friends or spouses. Some are fascinated by Finnish music and its composers (many others in addition to Sibelius). We feel a commitment to the community to keeping Finnish music alive.

The Finnish Choral Society is one of the few choirs, which still preserves traditional Finnish language choir music in the USA.  The roots date back to 1964, when a choir named “Kaleva Korus” was started  The choir eventually merged with the West Coast Singers’ Seattle Chapter in the mid 1970’s.  The name Finnish Choral Society was established around 1980.  Earlier choir directors have included Eric Salo, Sirkka Wilson, Florence Mesler and others, with accompaniment provided by the noted Finnish-American composer and pianist John Sundsten.  Current choir conductors are Dr. Heather McLaughlin-Garbes and Maria Mannisto.


The choir specializes in Finnish choral music, reflecting  the commitment to keep Finnish choral music alive and make it known.  The choir performs at numerous Finnish and Scandinavian community events, including the Finnish Independence Day celebration, the Yulefest at the Nordic Heritage Museum, the Finland Summer Festival, Scandinavian Heritage Choir Festivals, at retirement homes, etc.  Since 1976 the choir maintains the annual Kalevala Day Festival, which this year was celebrated at the Nordic Heritage Museum for the 39th time.


The latest tour to Finland was in summer 2012.  During that tour the choir performed to an enthusiastic public in six venues, including the famous Rock Church (Temppeliaukion kirkko) in Helsinki.  In March 2015 the choir performed at the Benaroya Hall during Seattle Symphony's multi concert series celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius, who is widely recognized as Finland's national composer.


New singers are always welcome! It's a great opportunity to learn about Finnish music.

What do we sing?

Mostly Finnish choral numbers, folk songs, patriotic, humorous, sacred and secular. Besides Finnish, we are singing in Swedish, English, German, French, Latin, Estonian and...

When and where do we sing?

We sing at various venues: at the Finnish Lutheran Church Services and events, the Nordic Heritage Museum, retirement homes, Seattle sings, Folklife

 and events especially within the Finnish and Nordic community.

Rehearsals:   Mondays 7:00 PM
 at the Finnish Lutheran Church
8504 13th Avenue NW, Seattle (map)

At various programs of the Finnish Community, Christmas programs, retirement homes, programs at the Nordic Heritage Museum (Yule Fest and the Kalevala Festival).


Choir Conductors: Mus. Dr. Heather MacLaughlin Garbes (

                              MM Maria Mannisto (Church Choir) (


Choir President- Eva Mannisto (





Last updated 02/17/2016