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Finnish flavor to Park Rapids Area Community Band’s upcoming spring concert

Director Russell Pesola and the Park Rapids Area Community Band rehearses with guest soloist Michael Hanson in preparation for their May 17 concert. (Shannon Geisen / Enterprise)

The Park Rapids Area Community Band, directed by Dr. Russell Pesola, will present their annual spring concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 17 in the Park Rapids High School auditorium.

The band will pay tribute to Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, in commemoration of the his 150th birthday. As part of the celebration, the Northern Lights Chorale from Sebeka, directed by Gary Stennes, will join the band in a grand finale performance of “Finlandia.”

A major feature of the program will be the performance of two pieces for alto saxophone and band. Guest soloist Michael Hanson is an award-winning concert saxophonist, a teacher and a graduate of Concordia College.

Hanson has performed in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Russia and throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Two other special performers on the program will be guest conductors Dr. Douglas Nimmo from Gustavus Adolphus College, emeritus conductor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and Raine Ampuja, chief conductor emeritus of the Finnish Helsinki Guards Band.