July 24 – 28, 2024

Like the other Nordic nations, Finland has become a secular society. Yet Finnish people continue to know and sing Finnish hymns and spiritual songs. Pop music concerts, metal band festivals, end of the school year programs, summer gatherings, patriotic events, any of these times can and do include Finland’s hymns. Connect to this less understood aspect of contemporary Finland. Learn about these hymns and spiritual songs as we discuss the content of the newly released Finnish Heritage Hymnbook. Get your copy of the Hymnbook in advance on the FinnFest website or at the FinnFest Tori on arrival.

Presenter Bio:
Margaret Vainio, an American who has lived her adult life in Finland, worked as a cantor for more than 30 years, a position within Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. During those years, she became a strong bilingual practitioner of Finnish and English and a highly sought after translator of Finnish into American English. In 1999, she became part of the Finnish Heritage Hymnbook Committee, working toward publishing a collection of Finnish hymn translations. FinnFest USA published the results in 2023, as the Finnish Heritage Hymnbook. Vainio, a graduate of Northern Michigan University, studied music at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and earned an M.A. in music from the University of Jyväskylä. Starting in 1996, she has brought church choirs to participate in FinnFest festivals, sharing Finland’s contemporary hymnody along with singing hymns known to Finnish America. The hymnbook’s useful auxiliary information reflects her careful scholarship. Vainio is a head trainer of Asahi Nordic and director of international training, including, since 2016, Asahi’s presence at FinnFest.

K. Marianne Wargelin as a child, experienced both local and national forms of Finnish American Lutheranism. As a young adult, she served as a Suomi Synod representative on Youth Committee for the Joint Commission of Lutheran Unity and as a member on the national Luther League Board, Lutheran Church in America. She is a researcher and educator working in Cultural History. She uses interdisciplinary materials to study ethnicity, cultural pluralism, and the survival and change of small cultures within large, dominant cultures, particularly Finland and Finnish America. She has co-authored Women Who Dared: The History of Finnish American Women, published four encyclopedia essays as well as articles on Finnish and Finnish American folklore, popular culture, and the high arts. A graduate of Suomi College, she earned degrees in English language literature at Augustana College (Illinois), and the University of Michigan and studied American Studies at the University of Minnesota. Earlier an educator in American higher education, she later became associated, both as instructor and student, with the History department at the University of Tampere.