GSCC Member Organization
12145 SE 20th PL
Bellevue, WA 98005
The Finnish Choral Society is one of the few choirs, which still preserves traditional Finnish language choir music in the USA. The roots date back to 1964, when a choir named “Kaleva Korus” was started The choir eventually merged with the West Coast Singers’ Seattle Chapter in the mid 1970’s. The name Finnish Choral Society was established around 1980. Earlier choir directors have included Eric Salo, Sirkka Wilson, Florence Mesler, Karen Ingalls, Milo Fryling and Maarit Vaga with accompaniment provided by the noted Finnish-American composer and pianist John Sundsten. Maria Männistö, MM, then directed the choir for 12 years. The choir is now directed by Dr. Heather McLaughlin-Garbes and MM Maria Männistö.
The choir specializes in Finnish choral music, reflecting the commitment to keep Finnish choral music alive and make it known. The choir performs at numerous Finnish and Scandinavian community events, including the Finnish Independence Day celebration, the Yulefest at the Nordic Heritage Museum, the Finland Summer Festival, Scandinavian Heritage Choir Festivals, at retirement homes, etc. Since 1976 the choir maintains the annual Kalevala Day Festival, which in 2017 was celebrated at the Nordic Heritage Museum for the 41st time.
The latest tour to Finland was in summer 2012. During that tour the choir performed to an enthusiastic public in six venues, including the famous Rock Church (Temppeliaukion kirkko) in Helsinki. In March 2015 the choir performed at the Benaroya Hall during Seattle Symphony's multi concert series celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius, who is widely recognized as Finland's national composer.