The theme of the Suomi Finland centenary celebration was being and doing Together. That theme of togetherness was very evident in the celebration at Cygnaeus School on Thursday, November 30th. The English Class pupils and teachers, together with all of the other pupils and teachers at Cygnaeus School, outdid themselves with decorations and programmes that included music, art and dance for invited guests. The main speaker at the celebration was Juhani Ruohonen, the head of Satakunta County Museum. He spoke about how the town of Pori and 105 year old Cygnaeus School have changed and developed in the last hundred years. The music classes’ choir, Synkooppi, sang a beautiful rendition of Finlandia.
Fourth grader Oska played the part of a grandson who sent a letter to his grandfather wondering how Finland’s flag and national anthem came to be. The role of the grandfather was played by retired teacher Antt Ilén from Cygnaeus School. His grandfather replied with a great deal of enlightening information in his letter to his grandson. The rest of the celebration was divided into decades where a programme number always highlighted something special in that decade. Essentially all of the pupils in the school had some role in the programme. There was folk dancing that represented the exuberant 1920’s. The 1930’s featured The Seven Brothers, which is a very famous book by Finland’s national author, Aleksis Kivi. We also heard a song about the brothers sung by third and fourth grade boys.
The 1940’s were a tumultuous time of wars. We were honoured to have war veteran Olavi Sandberg, who is 90+ years old, talk to us about his life. He also told how he had helped lay many veterans to rest in their final resting places in years past. When he sang Veteraanin Iltahuuto, (The Veteran’s Evening Call) together with the sweet voices from the third and fourth grade music classes, it was deeply moving. Roy K. translated the song into English as follows:
The Veteran’s Evening Call
(1). Over the darkening shore of the bay the sun has set.
Evening call is already sounding.
The burden has been laid down.
Remember your father then, his step has grown weary.
Children and your children’s children,
now it’s your turn.
[Refrain]: Take care, for soon the brothers will be gone,
Remember that for them this land was dear.
Tell your children’s children in song,
the memories must never be tarnished!
(2). The hymn sounds in the vault softly,
darkly the yearning sounds.
Time has reaped its harvest, the field has been picked clean.
Long ago we marched side-by-side.
Fire lit up sky and earth.
On the shore of Lake Onega’s bay,
to whom can this now be told ?
[Refrain]: Take care…
(3). In the waves of Lake Ladoga’s might,
we can no longer dip our shoes.
Brothers who guarded its shores,
when the dawn arises.
Proudly the Karelian folk has borne its suffering.
Mother Earth embraces them protectively.
The sentry is now gone.
[Refrain]: Take care…
In the 1950’s Paavo Nurmi’s success as a great athlete was celebrated. The 1960’s featured Marimekko and a dance known as Letkajenkka
. The 1970’s decade was brought to mind by 4 times gold medal winner Lasse Virén. The 1980’s brought Muumi to the world’s attention. In the video below English Class first and second graders join all the rest of the first and second graders at Cygnaeus School, and the English Class kindergarten pupils, in singing Hei Muumi
The English translation to this Muumi song can be found here
The 1990’s were renown for some colourful fashion. Fashion trends throughout the decade recycled styles from previous decades, notably the 1960s and 1970s so we watched a fashion show. In the 2000’s hip hop was popular. The fifth grade music class did a stellar job with their band and choir production of Eteen ja ylös. The 2010’s spotlighted a special slide presentation of the art classes’ extraordinary artwork to the background music of Lauri Tähkä’s Minun Suomeni (My Finland).
Toward the end of the programme Headmaster Arto Suni revealed two works of art that will be hung permanently in each wing of the main floor of the school. The works, both called Tuhansien järvien maa/Land of a Thousand Lakes are composed of individual 3-dimensional white flowers on a royal blue background. Every pupil and staff member in the school made a flower using silk clay. These flowers were then permanently attached to the two painted blue backgrounds. After singing the national anthem, Maamme, and the closing flag ceremony, this amazing celebration of our country and the young people who live in it was over.
Because all of the English Class pupils put lots of time and effort into decorating our school for this special occasion, we would like to share some of their work with readers of our blog. Above is a village of buildings created by first, second, third and fourth graders. Fifth and sixth graders made the snowy trees for the village. The snowflakes on the right are water colour resist with a bit of glitter for pizzazz created by English Class third graders.
An earlier post
showed English Class pupils practicing cursive. They used their cursive skills to each write a word that they themselves chose as being their most beautiful Finnish word. The words were either written on white or blue paper and then a Finnish flag was formed with all 117 cards.
Gel print workshops
for all of the English Class pupils resulted in the amazing prints seen above. English Class second graders made glittery sweet angelica weeds and sewed snowflakes on paper plates. The first graders made snowy tree landscapes with shredded paper, glue and tissue paper. The entire school looks amazing with lantern jars pupils have made, drawings of presidents, paper stars and snowball lanterns and so much, much more. If talent and creativity are any indicators, Finland is in good hands for the future because we have a school of extraordinary teachers and children!