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Warm welcome for Finnish Suzuki Voice students in Poland

by Eevi Hölsä (age 19) Suzuki Voice students since 1992

It was in April 2011 that a group of 31 Finnish Suzuki Voice students, parents and grandparents started the trip by boat to Poland. The youngest singer was 2 and the eldest 23 years old. Our leader was Dr. Päivi Kukkamäki and our pianist was Marjaana Merikanto - we also had another Suzuki Voice Teacher, Mervi Sipola-Maliniemi, travelling with us. Everyone was very excited about the concert trip to Slupsk in Poland, the town which is twinned with Vantaa, Finland.

The main recital was held in the Polish Philharmonic Sinfonia Baltica hall, two recitals were held at the Primary Schools and the City Kindergartens. There was also a demonstration seminar about the Suzuki Voice Program at the City Culture Centre. The Philharmonic concert hall was full of people and many extra chairs were needed. Our program included group items and solo prformances of children's songs, musicals and opera arias with all ages performing. It was wonderful to sing to an audience who were so enthusiastic. The recital program for the schools was planned so that children could also participate in the songs. As a suprise, all the children from schools and the kindergartens had made presents from glass and paper for the whole group.

For three days, every hour, Pomeranian Television broadcast something about our recitals and the places we had visited. Two photographers followed us and took over 1000 photos - what a thoughtful idea it was to be given a photo CD of memories at the end of our visit!

Everyone enjoyed the sightseeing in the historic City Hall, which was where the reception and press conference with the President of Slupsk, Maciej Kobylisnki, was held. The schedule was busy, but there was time to see a performance at the Theatre Tecza and also do some shopping.

Wherever we went, the hospitally was absolutely wonderful and warm. The streets were lined with flags and welcome banners in Polish and Finnish, the children were dressed in national costume holding flowers and waving small flags. One school had even decorated the hall with Mumin figures, Santa Claus and Lapland drawings. Everywhere we went, we were offered delicious Polish food and we were amazed at how beautifully the tables were decorated.

The trip made me feel very happy. It is so nice to travel with a group who all enjoy singing and performing together. Thank you to our town Vantaa, which sponsored our concert trip. Thank you to Marjukka Mäyry, Mr Jerzy Mazureck, Mr Bogdan Leszscuk and Ewa Zajewska and everyone who was involved in organising our visit.

Thank you! Dziekuje Slupsk!

We were deeply touched by everything!

 Eevi Hölsä (age 19) Suzuki Voice student since 1992

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