MARQUETTE – Finn Grand Fest 2005, which takes place here Aug. 10-14, will have its official start at an Opening Ceremony set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, at Marquette’s Lakeview Arena.  The ceremony is free and open to the general public. 

            The ceremony will begin with a processional of performers and other organized groups.  During the processional, there will be a chant composed by Finn Grand Fest 2005 President Pauline Kiltinen, which will be sung by a leader and attendees to set a mood of enchantment and expectation.

            A program has been designed to give glimpses of the entertainment to be offered during the festival. Among the highlights will be children and adults choirs singing antiphonally a Finnish folk song with words written to expand on the festival theme, “Heritage Powers the Future.”  There will also be a fiddle choir of Upper Peninsula violinists led by Finnish folk violinist and teacher Mauno Järvelä.

            In recognition of the Opening Ceremony being underwritten by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, there will be a special appearance by a group of Native American drummers and dancers.  This will segue into a performance by Finnish-born and New York-based flutist Ulla Suokko, who will communicate through her music some of the deep spiritual connections between Native American and Finnish cultures.

            There also will be greetings from various dignitaries from the area, the United States, Canada, and Finland. 

            The program will conclude with a dialog about the nature of the festival that uses the opening chant music. The characters for this dialog – Party Guy, Poet, and Professor – each make their arguments as to what the most important aspect of the festival, and the level of audience singing along with them will gives participants a chance to voice their opinion.  In the end, the characters agree that stomach, heart, and mind are all fed at this event, and that each is important.

The Opening Ceremony will be televised on Charter Communication and will be aired in the Marquette area on public access channel 8.

Prepared By
John Kiltinen