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The annual 5K Run is back again!

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Jun 17, 2014

It’s 10 a.m. on Father’s Day. There’s a sight one doesn’t see very often at Prospect Park, Brooklyn: the Finnish flag, waving in the warm summer wind. Around the flag there are Finns, who live in the area of New York and locals, who have Finnish relatives. There are people, who just happen to like the Finns and the Finnish culture and also some people, who know nothing about Finland, but who still want to participate in the Finland Center Foundation’s Midsummer 5K Run for charity.

Five kilometers is run in sunny weather. The age difference between the first and the third crossing the finish line is approximately 37 years, which really portrays the nature of the event. After the race participants enjoy Nordic Breads’ Finnish Rye Bread sandwiches covered with Finlandia cheese. The prizes for the top three of men’s and women’s series were gift cards sponsored by Marimekko and Karhu, and also a book by Leena Lehtolainen. All 34 runners received a t-shirt, Lumene and L’Oreal cosmetics and discount coupons for New York Running Company and Karhu. The gift card for Sockerbit was also raffled among the runners.

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At the end of the day the most valuable prize every runner and organizer received was a good feeling. All the Finns and the Finnish-minded people at the race got a chance not only to meet each other, but also to do some international good, thus the proceeds of the race are used to support Syrian Women’s Forum for Peace. FCF’s president Jaana Rehnstrom has only one wish for the next year’s race: “Everyone bring one more friend with you!”

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Classical Piano Recital by Viktoriya Papayani

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Jun 9, 2014

On August 7, Finland Center Foundation presented Pianist Viktoriya Papayani at the Salmagundi Club . There was a pre-concert reception for donors supporting FCF’s Kota Project http://kotaproject.org/ … The Kota Project is an initiative of FCF to establish a World Center for Women in New York City as a hub for nonprofit organizations that work towards women’s empowerment. The Club has remodeled some of the rooms including the upper floor main gallery; a nice venue for tonight’s recital, surrounded by artwork while listening to her lovely recital: Tchaikovski’s The Seasons; Beethoven’s Rondo a Capriccio in G Minor, “Rage Over a Lost Penny”; Debussy’s Valse Romantique and L’isle Joyeuse; plus five works by Chopin after intermission, quite an impressive program… The piano is brand new; this being its second usage, some glitches hadn’t yet been worked out, a noisy pedal among them, but that did not distract from enjoying the performance; highlights were Beethoven’s Rondo and the spirited L’isle Joyeuse… Looking forward to Viktoriya’s future recitals!

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All about Viktoriya. Born in the Ukraine, pianist Viktoriya Papayani was started on the piano by her father, Vladimir Yudilevich, when she was four and studied with him until her family moved to America. She continued her studies in New York with Nina Svetlanova at the Manhattan School of Music, where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance.

During her summer courses and International Music Festivals in Canada and Europe she received coaching from Dina Ioffe, Dmitry Paperno and Carlos Turriago.

Ms. Papayani has received various honors and awards in many European countries, including Ukraine, France, and Italy and has performed in Europe, Canada, and the United States. She was presented at the Weill Hall of Carnegie Hall in her New York recital debut by Artists International as a recipient of its Special Presentation Award. Besides being a classical pianist Viktoriya Papayani is also an actress, who has been a part of more than twenty five theater productions, including Shakespeare.

Currently, Viktoriya teaches piano at the Future Artist Studio and is an organist and choir director of St. Thomas’ and St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Churches on Long Island. She continues giving piano recitals in the US and Europe and makes piano recordings. Future engagements include a concert tour in the fall of 2014 in Finnish Lapland as a part of September Fest.

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Members Dinner with Author Emmi Itäranta

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May 1, 2014

With her 2012 debut novel Memory of Water (Teemestarin kirja, Teos 2012) Emmi Itäranta established herself as a major force on the Finnish literary scene. In addition to earning Itäranta several awards such as the Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize for young authors (2012) and the Young Aleksis Kivi Prize (2013), Memory of Water has been sold in 14 languages to date around the world. HarperCollins will publish the book in the UK in May and in the US in June of 2014. Itäranta will visit New York during the last week of May to celebrate the US launch of the novel and appear at Book Expo America for an advance signing on May 31st.

In addition, Finland Center is inviting members to attend a meet-and-greet dinner in honor of Emmi Itäranta at the downstairs restaurant of the Salmagundi Club on Friday, May 30th. Itäranta will discuss the process of creating Memory of Water, which she wrote simultaneously in Finnish and English, read a passage from the novel and share her experiences of generating this global breakthrough. Attendees can then freely chat with Itäranta and enjoy a dinner together (a full menu, with prices ranging from $15 to $30 for a main course, will be available).

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About the book. Set in a dystopian future where water has become a prized commodity, Memory of Water tells the story of 17-year-old Noria who is set to become the next tea master in her village. When her father dies, she assumes the dangerous responsibility of guarding a hidden spring.

“Where Itäranta shines is in her rejection of conventional plots and in her understated but compelling characters. The work is a deceptively tranquil examination of a world of dust and ashes where the tenacious weed of hope still survives.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review

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"Hymn to the World": A Concert to Benefit UN Women

Apr 28, 2014

On April 3rd at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City, Heikki Sarmanto’s ensemble revived “The Magic Songs”. This is a musical collaboration between Heikki Sarmanto – noted Finnish composer, pianist, and by now a jazz legend in Finland – and Jeannine Otis, vocalist. It explores the poetry of Eino Leino as translated by the late Aina Swan Cutler through Mr. Sarmanto’s music. These songs, first performed and recorded in 1980, have become classics and are listened to all over the world. The collaboration between Mr. Sarmanto and Ms. Otis highlights the best of the possibilities of cultural exchange. At the Hymn to the World concert, the music was enhanced by the addition of two New York musicians: Bim Strasberg on bass and Greg Bufford on drums.

Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri receives the check from Jaana Rehnstrom.

Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri receives the check from Jaana Rehnstrom.

The event was supported by The Arts Promotion Centre Finland, The Finnish Performing Music Promotion Centre, Suomi-seura, the Consulate General of Finland in New York, the Finland Center Paul Tirri Fund and the Samuel Rubin Foundation. The net proceeds, $2003, were awarded to UN Women for their work.

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The very first children's movie night - what a success!

Dec 23, 2013

Around 30 children along with their parents showed up at Public School 3 in Greenwich Village in Manhattan to see a movie called The Flight Before Christmas (Niko – Lentäjän poika). This is an award-winning Finnish animation by Michael Hegner and Kari Juusonen. The event itself was a perfect Christmas kick-off with the thrilling plot, the delicious gingerbread and the atmosphere full of joy and verve!

The gym at PS3 was transferred into a movie theatre and played the role of an entertainment center with comfortable seats, where you could sit and watch the movie on a big screen and have a little snack. All the sighs, wows, and giggles proved that the audience clearly got carried away with the story of Niko the young reindeer.

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This movie was the first one in the series of Finnish children’s movies organized by FCF and supported by The Finland Society. The access to all of the upcoming movie nights is free. You are more than welcome to join us the next time!

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Greetings from a visiting author, Leena Lehtolainen

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Oct 23, 2013

My dear American and English-speaking readers,

I am very happy that Owen Witesman’s excellent English-language translations of my books are now available to you. When I began to write crime novels in the early 90's, I was a big fan of many American and British writers, including Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, and P.D. James. I could not even dream that my books would someday be found in bookstores and library shelves alongside their works.

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Although crime is a global literary genre, every writer brings his or her own flavors and culture to it. My books are from Finland, and I hope that in reading them you will not only get a taste of Finnish life and culture but also see how similar people are everywhere.

It is my great pleasure to tell you that signed copies of the first three Maria Kallio novels, My First Murder, Her Enemy, and Copper Heart, are now available at The Mysterious Bookshop in New York. By visiting this shop and picking up these books, you will be able to travel to Finland with my mystery novels serving as your plane ticket and travel guide.

Yours sincerely,

Leena Lehtolainen

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Friends of New York in Helsinki

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Aug 5, 2013

Over 40 people showed up at Cafe Carusel in Helsinki to meet old and new friends and catch an update on the recent developments at Finland Center. The beautiful weather and seaside location enticed expat Americans, former and current New Yorkers, former interns, au-pairs and young people with hopes and dreams for a future in New York to come out and chat.

This location was chosen also for its size and the reasonable certainty that everyone would fit in without a formal reservation or advance commitment and payment. If anyone feels like arranging similar events at other times of the year, we will be happy to forward it to our entire mailing list – just give us a heads up!

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A Finland-inspired Karaoke Night in Korea Town

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Jul 18, 2013

What better way to escape the hot and humid New York summer than singing your heart out and enjoying cold beverages with some old and new friends in a private air-conditioned room in Manhattan? A good-sized group of people, both local Finns and friends of FCF, got together last Thursday for karaoke at Gagopa Karaoke, a popular Koreatown spot providing great service for a very affordable price. And, in addition to their inexpensive drink selection, they encourage patrons to bring their own bottles. They also have a fantastic music selection from hard rock classics of AC/DC to the latest hits from the likes of Katy Perry. Even Eurovision gems were covered when our music-loving singers took over the karaoke room.

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The party took off from the moment we arrived. We popped some tags with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, got a little paranoid with Black Sabbath, and declared ourselves as superstars with Lady Gaga. Songs from many genres were heard and most of them ended with a loud sing-along. Whoever said Finnish people don’t show emotions or dance in public is horribly wrong! Our energetic singers could no doubt have continued until morning. The evening was brought to a close by two Finnish sisters performing a saucy version of Pink’s Blow Me (One Last Kiss).

Thank you so much for attending and for making our first karaoke event a great success! In response to your demand, we are happy to inform you that FCF is looking at organizing the next karaoke night in the near future, so stay tuned for round two!

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FCF's Midsummer 5K Run

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Jun 16, 2013

FCF hosted its 2nd annual Midsummer 5K Run to benefit Hope for Haiti Foundation. It took place in Prospect Park, Brooklyn on Father’s Day, Sunday 16th of June. At exactly 10 a.m. almost 50 participants started their 5 km run. The first one of the men to finish was Alex Galloway with the time 17:46, and the women’s first was Elodie Pinot with the time 19:33. The weather was in our favor and the whole thing was a real success. $1700 was raised to benefit maternity care in rural Haiti. FCF would like to thank all of our partners and volunteers. With all your support we were able to do some good and enjoy ourselves at the same time. Let’s make next year’s run even better!

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Recital: Anna Urrey, flute & Soyeon Kim, piano

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May 10, 2013

An avid solo and chamber musician, flutist Anna Urrey was celebrated as a "revelation” and a "great young talent” (Il Giornale, Spoleto, Italy) after a performance of J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 21 “Seufzer, Tränen. Kummer, Not” with members of the Spoleto Vocal Arts Symposium. Her love for musical collaboration extends beyond that of traditional flute music. She has performed in the East-West quartet with Music from China, a chamber ensemble that commissions and performs innovative repertoire, combining both Chinese and Western instruments in traditional and contemporary works.

As an orchestral musician, Ms. Urrey has performed with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Symphony in C in Philadelphia, among others, and has been recently appointed to Ensemble LPR, the resident orchestra at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. She has also participated in the Castleton Festival, New York String Orchestra Seminar, the Riistavesi Music Festival in Finland and the Nice Festival in France with conductors Lorin Maazel, Jaime Laredo, Pietari Inkiness, and Philippe Entremont. As an Artist-In-Residence at the Banff Music Center, Ms. Urrey had the opportunity to perform with John Adams conducting his composition, “The Wound Dresser.”

Ms. Urrey takes great pride in her Finnish-American heritage. In 2011, she performed at the Finnish Independence Day Celebration under the auspices of the of the Finnish Embassy. She was recently named a Semi-Finalist for the Principal Flute position with the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki.

Ms. Urrey earned a Master of Music degree and Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music as a student of Michael Parloff and Robert Langevin. She also holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, where she graduated magna cum laude and was honored with the Burian Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Performance” as a student of Bart Feller and Kaoru Hinata.

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Soyeon Kim, a native of South Korea, has appeared as a solo and collaborative pianist with an extensive range of vocal and instrumental repertoire throughout the United States, Europe, and Korea. Ms. Kim has worked with distinguished artists, including Stefan Hoskuldsson, Eric Speller, Mark Nuccio, Judith Mendenhall, Kenneth Cooper, and Yeonsun Joo. Having enjoyed performing as a collaborative musician led her to various concert appearances at major concert halls such as Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall at Carnigie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Cami Hall, Yamaha Hall, German House in NYC, Sejong Center and ArKo Arts Theater in Seoul, Korea, the Croatian Music Institution in Zagreb, Croatia, Konzerthaus in Berlin, and Gasteig in Munich, Germany.

Soyeon Kim won awards for her artistry in several competitions, such as First Prize and Best Interpretation Awards in William Garrison Piano Competition, Second Prize in the Artur Balsam Competition for Duos, Laureate in Korea Festival Ensemble Chamber Music Competition, and First Prize in Seoul National Teacher’s College Piano Competition. She also won Music Academy of the West Fellowship in Santa Barbara, New Triad Foundation Fellowship in New York City.

Ms. Kim has worked as a staff pianist and coach for Quartet Program, New York Vocal Institute, AIMS in Graz, and the Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Festival. In the spring of 2012 she joined the piano faculty at Montclair State University, NJ where she has has served as a vocal coach and staff pianist as well. Ms. Kim also served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music where she earned her second master’s and doctoral degree in Accompanying. She received her bachelor’s and another master’s degree in piano performance from Seoul National University, Korea.

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Let It Shine Concert

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Mar 28, 2013

The Artistic Dreams International Choir is very excited to host the Danish Girls Choir on Thursday, March 28th, during their tour to New York, and have a joined concert at the St. John’s Lutheran Church, in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

Let it Shine Concert is a wonderful opportunity to experience the power music has to build bridges and connect us all from the heart! The Danish Girls Choir will share beautiful traditional songs from Denmark. The Artistic Dreams Choir’s songs from around the world with fun choreography will move your body and soul. The two choirs will also join as one voice to perform songs they have learned from each other. Welcome to enjoy this celebration of global friendship and music, as the kids from Queens meet the Danish girls!

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Charity Event for Nepali Girls

Mar 1, 2013

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The charity event was held  at the Salmagundi Club in NYC on March 1st. Guests were treated to authentic Nepalese food while learning about the work of Empower Nepali Girls Foundation, which supports rural girls’ education in remote Nepali villages. The Charge D’Affaires of the Nepali UN Mission, Ms. Sewa Adhikari, thanked the organizers and guests for their support of this important cause. Pabhita Bagchand entertained with Nepalese songs and Sanjita Koirala with two young dancers performed traditional Nepali dances to everyone’s delight. Afterwards, Billiards World Champion Mika Immonen played with some guests at the big pool tables at the club. One donor was inspired to give an extra large donation at the end, bringing the total we will turn over to Empower Nepali Girls to over $13000. 

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Thank you to all guests and donors, to Mika Immonen, the performers, the volunteers, and the Salmagundi Club for supporting our cause – we feel nothing is more important for the future of the world than educating girls!

More photos in the gallery here. Read Sari Gold’s account of her trip in here.

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SISU - Finnish Fashion Invasion

Feb 23, 2013

Kiitos! Tack! Thank you!

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Approximately 100 people gathered on a rainy evening at Ivana Helsinki in Soho for the SISU fashion show which featured new Finnish designers, presented by Paloni. The evening started with talented Johanna Telander performing with her band, followed by information about Finland Center in word by Kristina Cammareri, and by video. Then the catwalk by gorgeous volunteer models showing off the latest Finnish creations on the field of fashion. Minna Särelä of Paloni introduced each item, telling many interesting details such as exactly what recycled materials some of the dresses were made of (For instance, used hospital linens – sustainable is clearly not only good, but in!). Finland Center members were able to buy items at 20% off and many others came back the next day to try on some clothes in peace and quiet. (FCF members can always shop at 15% discount at the store, so it is definitely worth signing up!)

See all the photos by Pete Lee at: http://permanentform.blogspot.com

Thank you also to our sponsors!
IvanaHelsinki: http://www.ivanahelsinki.com
Paloni: http://www.paloni.fi/
Nordic Breads  http://www.nordicbreads.com/
Valio: www.valio.fi
Kopparberg  http://www.arcticbrew.com/
Northern Rye Karelian pastries

 
 

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A classical piano concert on the side of brunch

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Feb 3, 2013

Kristina is a young pianist and ballet dancer. She has tried to pursue both careers almost simultaneously. She started her piano studies already at the age of 4 at the Sibelius Academy with Eeva Sarmanto-Neuvonen, the Head of Piano Pedagogy, and continued with Dr Katarina Nummi-Kuisma in Helsinki, Finland. She continued playing piano under the supervision of Juilliard graduate Kimbal Callagher in New York.

Kristina started also ballet at the age of 4 at the National Opera Ballet School in Finland and continued her studies at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, as the youngest foreign student ever. She completed the Bolshoi Ballet Middle School in 2012 and was accepted at the Professional Bachelor of Arts Program as a top three student in her class, known for her perfect Russian technique.

At this point Kristina wanted to play more piano and she is currently studying piano on full-time basis. She has found two wonderful and experienced teachers in New York and made the permanent move from ballet to music, with the intention to continue her studies at the Juilliard in New York. Several years in Bolshoi has taught her determination, discipline, independence, and hard work, all of which will be needed in the field of music as well.

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Olli Hirvonen Trio at the Club

Jan 18, 2013

On Wednesday night the Salmagundi Club was filled with spectacular tunes of jazz and we enjoyed the groovy performance of Olli Hirvonen Jazz Trio. With Olli playing the guitar, Philippe Lemm in drums, and Jeff Koch working the bass, they showed their intense artistry through solo performances and impressive ensemble playing. This trio truly knew how to jazz up the evening! Check out the pictures taken by Pete Lee!

 
 

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A great start for 2013!

On New Year’s Eve FCF organized a champagne reception and 2013 was welcomed by more or less 30 people including friends, partners, and members of FCF in the NEST office. In addition to artisanal champagne by Henris Reserve, also Finnish delicacies such as Gravlax on Nordic Rye bread, Karelian pastries, and Valio cheese platters were on the menu. A raffle was held and some of the lucky guests won great prizes! Thoughts and ideas on FCF’s latest developments and upcoming events were also being shared while enjoying the music by Johanna Telander and her band. The gig was once again nothing less than dazzling!

Approx. 30 people enjoyed the food, the music, and the great company.

Approx. 30 people enjoyed the food, the music, and the great company.

The Finns who helped to put the party together.

The Finns who helped to put the party together.

Johanna Telander and her band gave a great performance!

Johanna Telander and her band gave a great performance!

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Olli Hirvonen Trio

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Jan 16, 2013

Join us for Olli Hirvonen Trio Jazz evening at the Salmagundi Club on January 16th at 8 p.m.

Olli is a Finnish jazz guitarist currently based in NYC. He is the most accomplished Finnish guitarist of his generation, having already been chosen as the Artist of the Year at Pori International Jazz Festival 2011 and having an international career well on it’s way. Read more about Olli here.

Tickets $15, $10 for members online or at the door.

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Christmas Bazaar and Christmas Carols in NY

Dec 6, 2012

The event that draws the very biggest crowd every year in the Finnish community in New York is the Christmas Bazaar held to benefit the Finnish School of New York, on the same day and in the same space as the Kauneimmat joululaulut (Christmas Carols) event held by the New York Finnish Lutheran Congregation at 83 Christopher St. This year it was held on December 1st. The day offers a chance to stock up on the coveted Fazer’s Blue and other favorite sweets, homemade baked goods, rye bread by Nordic Breads, and Karelian pastries by Northern Rye. Decorations, books in Finnish for adults and kids, knitted socks, and various gift items are also available for purchase. Many happy encounters take place among expats and other friends of Finland who haven’t seen each other for a while (or who have!) On the ground floor, a café serving traditional salmon sandwiches, pulla, rice porridge with kiisseli, etc. was up all day long.

Anna & Anders promoting FCF

Anna & Anders promoting FCF

Finally, some proper rye bread!

Finally, some proper rye bread!

The gathering in the church offers a chance for children to participate in the Lucia procession and for everyone to sing the beloved songs, accompanied by Kalle Toivio on the organ and piano. In addition, Kalle accompanied Finnish pop singer Mariko, as well as Taavi Oramo on the clarinet and singing “O Holy Night”.

The event is also a testament to enduring volunteerism in the Finnish community; on the photo, attending to the FC table, are college students Anna Matts and Anders Fransen.

Lucia procession for the kids

Lucia procession for the kids

Carols warm the heart

Carols warm the heart

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Legendary Jazz at Salmagundi Club

Nov 14, 2012

Vuoropuhelu, meaning 'dialog', is a word that came to mind, listening to the beautiful tunes exchanged between Ray Blue’s saxophone and Ethan Mann’s guitar at Salmagundi on Nov. 14. In perfect harmony and sync, these two musicians lifted the audience for a moment out of the worries caused by hurricane Sandy and the daily grind. A luxury to be in this intimate atmosphere where the audience – you, our members and guests – were respectful and attentive and let these delicate sounds sink into your soul… We need more of this!

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Emma Larsson at Salmagundi Club

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Nov 1, 2012

A handful of Finnish-speaking Swedes gathered at the Salmagundi Club to talk in their mother tongue, munch on Karelian pastries, and listen to Emma Larsson and Nick Russo. Emma is a Swedish jazz singer, educated at the Sibelius Academy, and now transplanted to New York. She performed American jazz standards in great American jazz style, accompanied by masterful Nick Russo on guitar. Some in the audience got a little teary when she decided to perform “Vem kan segla forutan vind” along with two other songs in Swedish – a debut for Emma performing in Swedish! If you missed her, go any Thursday night to hear her at Lime Leaf restaurant on the Upper West Side.

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