Friday, 21 April 2017

Proms at the Cathedral

Our Easter break was very quiet, almost to the point of uneventful. Much relaxing at home, some good food with a little bit of traditional delicacies, a few films on TV, some walks on the downtown riverfront – mostly by hubby on his own, but also some snowfall. In mid-April, can you believe that?

The concert we attended at our local church, the Turku Cathedral, on Easter Monday formed quite a surprising highlight for the weekend. It was the young symphonic wind orchestra JBO YoungStars from Germany that was performing music from England, Scotland and Ireland under the title ‘A Night on the Isles’. The show included rhythmic arrangements ranging from pop classics, eg by Coldplay and The Beatles, to more traditional songs and tunes.

What we didn’t expect was that the orchestra really took it the-last-night-of-the-proms style. The aisle and band area were decorated with flags of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. There were Union Jacks hanging from the gallery. The spectators were handed flags they could wave just like in the real BBC Proms. The conductor Natalie Hönemann even put on a special waistcoat for the final part of the concert. Had I known about all this I would have taken my camera with me. There was nothing whatsoever to complain about the most delightful event except perhaps the acoustics of the high medieval stone Cathedral.

The story how the orchestra of youngsters happened to come to Finland and Turku in the first place is a fascinating one. A girl from here, while working as an au pair in Hanover, had played in the JBO YoungStars during her stay in Germany. She now studies music in Tampere and had invited the band for a visit. As the group arrived by ferry from Stockholm to Turku a concert was naturally arranged also here before continuing to the girl’s present home town where the orchestra performed last night.

I had a look at the programme of The Last Night of the Proms 2017. Sakari Oramo, the Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra since 2013 and a Finn, will be holding the baton once again. It’s going to be, among others, tributes to Zoltán Kodály and Malcolm Sargent, who both died 50 year ago, some John Adams, and Finlandia by our greatest composer Jean Sibelius to mark the centenary year of Finnish independence. It’s about time we revisited London so I just decided I will send an application for tickets by the open ballot. I already marked September 9 on my calendar. That way I will at least remember to glue myself to the TV that night. But please, no snowfall that time.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful event. The cathedral looks beautiful and I love a bit of flag waving. Hope that snow goes away soon. Never good in April when you are desperate for spring. B x

    1. We had some more snowfall today, I'm afraid. I'm starting to feel desperate...