Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen of the History Department and Carl Rahkonen, music librarian, both served on the program committee for the national FinnFest USA, which took place in Buffalo, N.Y. on October 9–11, 2015.
Sharon was responsible for the academic program, which included distinguished presentations on history, language, literature, music, art, and architecture by scholars from universities in Finland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas, Colorado, and Toronto. She gave presentations on “Finnish History Before Sibelius” and “Historical Perspectives of Finland in the Time of Sibelius.”
Carl was responsible for 11 visiting music groups which came from Finland, Washington, Minnesota, Michigan, and New York. In addition to playing fiddle or bass with several ensembles, he served as a respondent for a panel on “Finnish American Polkas and Polka Bands.”
FinnFest USA is an annual national festival with strong academic, cultural, and commerce components presenting Finnish American and Finnish culture and heritage. They met in Buffalo at the invitation of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, since their home, Kleinhans Music Hall, turned 75 years old that week. It was designed by Finnish American architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen.
The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra also celebrated the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius with a series of concerts featuring Finnish Music.
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