MARQUETTE – While most people attending Finn Grand Fest 2005 in Marquette Aug. 10-14 will not have a chance to catch all there is to see, the Finn Hall Variety Show on Friday (Aug. 12) will bring a handpicked selection of musical acts together in one evening for those who wish to sample a representative taste of Finnish music.

          The show will take place at 7:30 p.m., at Lakeview Arena.  Ticket prices range from $17-23 with registered festival attendees receiving a discount.  Tickets can be reserved online at or purchased at the Chamber of Commerce and Scandinavian Gifts in Marquette and the Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming.

          Collecting musical talent from the United States, Canada and Finland, the variety show has its roots in the programs that, according to one of the show’s planners John Kiltinen, appeared in traditional Finn Halls in America. As well as hosting temperance and socialist meetings, depending on which group owned the hall, Finnish halls were the scene of community events and entertainment, including plays and music.  This year’s variety show is inspired by the one the organizers saw at the FinnFest USA festival in 2002 in Minneapolis.

            Among those dozen or so tentatively slated to perform in the show will be the master of ceremonies, Oren Tikkanen; Finnish folk singer Tanya Stanaway from Ishpeming; Barb Hanka and the Midnight Sun from Minnesota; and Ulla Suokko, a world-class flautist and kantele player.

            “Our hope is that people hear music that brings back memories from the past,” Kiltinen said, “and also that they hear music that tells them this tradition is alive and well and continuing to develop.”

            Co-chair of the entertainment committee, Randy Seppala, agreed. “I think it’s a good overview of what’s going on in the festival.  If you don’t have time to see every single concert going on, the variety show will give you a good idea of just a little bit of a lot of performers and a lot of different styles and so forth.”

Prepared By
Matt Schneider