Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Staff Exchange Programme

I was very fortunate to be able to partake in the Staff Exchange Programme through the
European Choral Association – Europa Cantat. It is an activity organised in the frame of the Network Funding project “Upgrade – Connect – Reach out: Raising Awareness for Collective Singing in Europe” where Choral and conductor´s organisation can send or host an interested staff member to/from another organisation.
This programme offers participants the chance to spend some days learning from each other, sharing experiences, and getting an insight into a foreign (working) culture.
When we first enquired there were various options avilable to AOIC to choose from and we were able to look at what would be the best fit for AOIC and myself.
We chose Sulasol for various reasons; they are a membership organisation, they run various training opportunities for members and they are a publishing company. They are also hosting EuroChoir in July 2018 and as part of AOIC's future plans we are looking to host some international choral events in Ireland so we felt this was a great opportunity to learn more about EuroChoir whilst also allowing me to learn from others, share experiences and experience working in another culture.

I spent the week from 26th May to 2nd June working with Sulasol in Helsinki, Finland. I arrived on the Saturday night and spent the Sunday being a tourist in Helsinki where I saw various churches, monuments, islands, markets and more. This gave me the perfect opportunity to learn my way around this beautiful city.

                                             Me in front of the Sibelius monument

On the Monday morning, Reijo met me at my apartment and we travelled to the office together so I would know where to go for the week.

While with Sulasol I worked mainly on EuroChoir preparing and sending information to singers, helping with the schedule, music and general plans for the course while working with Reijo and Ahti from Sulasol, Flannery and Côme from ECA and Kristiina from Europa Cantat Festival in Tallinn. I also got to visit the various relevant venues where the singers will be staying, rehearsing and performing.

         EuroChoir rehearsal venue                EuroChoir concert venue- 

                                                                            Helsinki Cathedral

On the Wednesday night I attended a choir concert in which a colleague was performing. Vantaan Karmarikuro and Kamarikuro SonorEnsemble were the two choirs performing and they performed a wide variety of repertoire.

I learned more about the struture of Sulasol and the organisations that are under it's umbrella while I was there.
http://skl.sulasol.fi/ - Mixed Voice Choirs
http://www.mieskuoro.fi/ - Male Voice Choirs
http://snkl.sulasol.fi/ - Female Voice Choirs
http://www.nuortenkuoroliitto.fi/  - Children and Youth Choirs

Me and the staff of Sulasol at lunch on my last day

I am very thankful to AOIC, Sulasol and ECA- EC for giving me this opportunity.
Read my short interviews below with some of the staff to learn more about Sulasol. 
Lily Lacey

Can you tell me your name and what you do here?
My name is Ahti and communications manager is what my card says, what I'm actually doing is very different things, various things. So first of all I am editor of the magazine which comes four times a year. I write articles and ask people to write and so I'm the photographer and I do all the editing takes photos and sort of lay out. And otherwise, I do a lot of music engraving and editing of course to all the graphic design of sheet music and things like that.

Can you tell me a little bit more about what goes into the magazine?
Well all of our member choirs and orchestras can write stories for the magazine.
There are stories from the choirs. What are they doing and things like that.
And also it's our official information channel. Our associations also use that for their information and then they publish different kinds of articles about choir music, about music city choirs, local workshops and little bit of everything festivals and things like that.
Do you sing?
Yes I do a little bit. I was singing in choirs and vocal ensembles but now I do backing vocals in some bands and things like that.
Tell me your name and a little bit about what you do
 I'm Aino Herranen and I am the executive director of Finnish Male Choir Organisation.
We have one hundred and nine members and about three thousand five hundred and two members singers and from these choirs. And we organize different events of education.
We are publishing sheet music as well.

We also have badges that we award to singers, choir members and those involved with choirs.
More information https://sulasol.fi/jasenille/huomionosoitukset/ 
Please tell me your name and what you do here too.

My name is Mikko Klemolaand I mostly do sales and marketing and sheet music sales this year.

My day normally entails mailing the orders we get, doing all sorts of stuff with social media newslettersand contacting people making contacts.

Do you find choirs tend to go for a specific type of sheet music more than others?
 They go for individual scores over books.
 We are a music publisher and we have a lot of different kinds of material.
So there is something for everyone there. Yeah but of course there's a lot of different choirs so I think you have to cover all basis here.

I see here you have a lot of stock from other publishers as well.
That's correct. Yes we do have them and we try to make them known here in Finland.

Are you a choir singer?

No actually no. I don't come from choir music background. I am a bass player. I studied jazz and pop music and stuff like that, so when I started here seven or eight years ago it was all new to me the choral music world

Why did you come to Sulasol if it wasn't your background?

Yeah I actually graduated around that time and then I thought that it was an interesting musical environment to be working in. So I applied and I got the job.

Please tell me your name and what you do here in Sulasol

My name is Reijo Kekkonen and my title here is the director of publications and what I do here is that I'm dealing with the music. I was selected here to be the musical expert and taking care of the music publishing business. So I deal with and work with composers engravers, Graphic designers etc. and produce scores for choirs and also instrumentalists to use.
But one thing more in my my job every day job is you know dealing with mostly international things that is because very often I go out with my scores to events festivals or seminars etc. And so I'm going outside meeting international people.

You are hosting EuroChoir this year, tell us more about that

All of us were asked by ECA-EC if we were interested in joining the group of three EuroChoir sessions. The first one was in 2016 in Italy, 2017 The second one in the Netherlands and now is the third one in Helsinki. And the purpose of the last of them being in Helsinki is that the Europa Cantat Festival will take place in Tallinn just after the EuroChoir session. So it's easy for the choir to move to Tallinn just 80 kilometres south.

Why did Sulasol choose to host EuroChoir

There have been some contacts from ECA-EC earlier and before and always we have had to say that sorry we don't have the money to organise this and so on. But then we thought that they thought that it's my last period with the board because it's three years. And it's my third season there so I have to leave now this November or so I thought that you have to get some things to Finland while I'm there. And we were hoping that we could involve and include Finnish.

You are involved with ECA-EC, tell us about what you do
Yes yes since 2009. Well I applied for the board and they chose me in 2009 for the first time and I was very keen and would have liked to work at the Music Commission. But I was not selected there so I would say, so I've been doing many different things and  now I'm involved with the Friends of choral music and things like representing ECA- EC now.

Do you sing yourself?

Yes yes. Well I started as a violinist and also began playing oboe. I studied five years composition and music theory at the Sibelius Academy and since school times I've been singing in choirs. So I've even made my living as a choral singer. And nowadays I sing with the Freia Chamber Choir which is conducted by Jaakko Mäntyjärvi. And also doing some project performances with different groups.

Why did the Sulasol decide to be part of the exchange programme?

Well we were really enthusiastic about this system. But we thought that no one would never ever like to come to us because we are used to being located so far away from Central Europe. Anyway we were really very very happy that we got this message from Julia telling that from the ECA office that someone from Ireland is interested and yes we were definitely happy to have someone here. And as you have now noticed here that we really needed some assistance with the EuroChoir because well we organize our own some festival every five years but it's a little different.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Mornington Singers Concert: “21"

Mornington Singers Concert: “21"

To mark the 21st anniversary of their founding, the Mornington Singers invite you to come and celebrate this milestone birthday with them at a special concert on Saturday 23rd of June at 7pm in Trinity College Chapel.

Founded in 1997 by a group of Trinity College Singers graduates, united by their friendship and love of singing together, the award-winning choir (which takes its name from the Earl of Mornington, the first Professor of Music at Trinity College Dublin) has gone on to establish itself as one of Ireland’s leading choral ensembles. Performing a broad range of a cappella repertoire, with a particular focus on music of the 20th and 21st centuries, the choir has won many awards both in Ireland and internationally, has released 5 CD recordings and has sung in live performances of video game music, at Electric Picnic, on film soundtracks and in concert with Andrea Bocelli, Lesley Garrett and David Puttnam.

This concert will feature a programme of some of the choir’s favourite works through the years, including music by Byrd, Mendelssohn, James McMillan, Seán Doherty and many more.