Baltic Sea Choir Festival 1997 - Flensburg, Germany

The high point of the year was definitely the trip to the Ostsee-Chorfest festival in Flensburg. One choir from each of the Baltic Sea coastal countries had been invited, and our choir had the honor to represent Finland in this choral event.
Our journey began from Veteli on Thursday the 22nd of May as 64 choir members, five violinists and a few parents put their luggage to two buses, and the course was set to Helsinki. There we got aboard on the Finnjet ship, and spent the following 24 hours sailing to Germany. After arriving to Travemünde, there was still a short drive to Flensburg before we were able to settle down in some youth hostel. In the evening, we had a little time to briefly go through our concert routine before going to bed. It was going to be a big day tomorrow, so it was important to get a good night sleep.

Saturday morning it was time for the grand opening of the festivals in the huge Deutsches Hause auditorium, where all the participating choirs had gathered. After that, we had some free time, so walked to the keskusta of the city to do some sightseeing and shopping. Later in the afternoon, we returned to the concert house and started to prepare for the evening's joint concert. There were all together 11 choirs and each one performed for all most half an hour, so it turned out to be a marathon concert. At least the audience, which had filled the concert hall to the last seat, got all their moneys worth. Our presentation consisted of Finnish folk music songs, some of them accompanied by our violinist group, which also played few songs separately. Our part of the concert was as a whole a success, judging by the response of the audience, which seemed to enjoy the Finnish folk music a lot.

On Sunday, we had a concert together with a girls' choir from St Petersburg. After the concert, which went really nice, we had a little time to mingle with the girls. And as result we got an invitation to come to see them, if we ever make a concert tour to St Petersburg. Sadly we had to leave Flensburg all too soon, because we had to continue to Ahrensburg. The local juvenile choir had invited us to visit them and sing a concert in the St Johannis Kirche church. After the concert we spent the evening with our host choir and we stayed in their homes for the night. So, we got a lot of new friends and also a closer look at the local way of life.

Monday morning it was for us to pack our stuff and to head home. On our way to Travemünde, we made short shopping stop in Hamburg and took a sightseeing tour in Lübeck. In the evening it was again time to get aboard on the Finnjet ship. We had an extra long 36-hour cruise across the Baltic Sea a head of us. As a surprise to all of us, we were able to arrange an extempore concert on the ship's bandstand. The response of the audience was very enthusiastic, and even more so in the karaoke, where we sang solo and in small groups. All in all, the 36-hour trip went by really fast, while singing and playing around the aisles of the ship. Wednesday morning we were in Helsinki harbor and after a few hours of sitting in the bus home again in Veteli. It was time for us to return to our dull everyday lives.