Photograph

Lotta (13) Sortavala (112) Suvivirsi (1) Lauri K. Relander (1) nationalist ideology (1) Armas Järnefelt (1) Robert Kajanus (1) President of the Republic of Finland (1) civil guard (1) 1922 (14) Karelianism (1) 1924 (17) 1926 (44) Song Festival (1) Academic Karelia Society (1) Lotta Svärd (11) Svärd (12) Relander (15) Public Enlightenment Society (1) Hymn of Väinö (1)


In 1926, the Song Festival of the Public Enlightenment Society was organised in Sortavala for a second time. The event was significant, as it was the 20th time the festival had been organised and also the 30th anniversary of the first time it was arranged in Sortavala. Sortavala had expressed an interest in organising the festival already in 1916, but this had not been possible due to the global political situation. The planning of the festival began in 1924, with Mr O. Relander, rector of Sortavala seminar, as the chief coordinator.
The festival became the largest in the history of the Public Enlightenment Society. A total of 2,673 performers drew an audience of more than 15,000 people. The director of the festival was Robert Kajanus, and Armas Järnefelt acted as chief conductor. The festival was opened by President of the Republic Lauri K. Relander, and the location was once again Vakkosalmi Park. The festival began with Suvivirsi (Summer Hymn) on 26 June 1926 and a speech by Dr Relander. The festival progressed according to plan, culminating on 28 June with the cantata "Väinön virsi" (Hymn of Väinö) composed for the purpose by Jean Sibelius. The song festival also functioned as a platform for the Finnish Choir Union, established in 1922, that was hoping to get an opportunity to become the organiser of the festival. The 1926 festival became the last one with the Public Enlightenment Society as the sole organiser. Indications of Karelianism and the nationalist ideologies of the Academic Karelia Society were also present in the 1926 festival. Plenty of civil guard and Lotta Svärd outfits could be seen in the festival, which caused dismay in the labour press.

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