Rantasalmi Wind Band Society
Rantasalmi Wind Band Society has actively worked for children, youth and adults’ music and theatre
activities since 1979. The main functions of the society consist of the wind
band activities and the youth theatre. Currently there are about 100 amateur musicians
in the orchestras and about 40 amateur actors in the musicals of the Youth Theatre.
The goal of our society is to offer high-quality and versatile teaching and
activities in the world of music and theatre.
The society itself organises about 15 concerts in a year and the orchestras perform in dozens of other events within the year. Every year Rantasalmi Youth Theatre produces 1-2 musicals, which are each performed 10-15 times.
ORCHESTRAS AND BANDS
During the school year 2017-2018 eight bands will be playing: 4 wind bands (levels A, B, C, and Adults´ Orchestra), Ihmekvintetti (“Quintet”), The pop groups "SoulSystem" & "Soul System Junior" and Adults’ Pop Orchestra. The bands are conducted by Marja Ikonen and Miikka Laihonen/Janne Ikonen. There are 100 musicians in the bands altogether. The administration of the bands is in the hands of the society board under the chairmanship of Petteri Koskikallio.
During the school year 2017–2018 the theatre will rehearse two musicals: Yökyöpelit and Hairspray. There are about 70 students acting on the stage and playing in the musical orchestra. The musicals are directed by Jari Pylväinen and Iiris Salmela. The youth theatre is administered by a youth theatre division under the chairmanship of Päivi Turkki.
The society owns a music and theatre hall called Tornado, where productions are rehearsed and performed. Tornado, an old industrial hall, was reconstructed on voluntary basis. The hall accommodates a sloping auditorium with 195 seats. Sound and lightning systems are of professional standard.
CONTACT / ORCHESTRA, TORNADO HALL RESERVATIONS
THE HISTORY OF RANTASALMI WIND BAND
Rantasalmi Wind Band Society was founded in 1979. Out of the several active persons giving birth to the band let us mention Risto Nyyssönen, the music teacher, and Sakari Niemi, the head teacher, from the local open college. In 1980’s the number of musicians grew and new bands on level B and C started. Also the repertoire of the bands expanded as the number of musicians got higher. The traditional march music, which was played during the first years, gradually turned into more entertaining wind band music, and further into more challenging compositions and concert music. At the moment our repertoire covers traditional wind band music, pop music as well as new Finnish wind band music. More challenging compositions can be played in joint concerts together with bands from neighbouring municipalities. In recent years we have tried to play new Finnish wind band music in plenty and have ordered compositions from Finnish composers.
In 1990’s we made a big move and founded a youth theatre. Everything started in 1994 when the local open college arranged a music theatre course for young music students. The purpose was to introduce other performing arts and to show how important the knowledge of music is in the field of various performing arts. There were over 50 music students, aged from 15 to 18, who participated in the course. The teacher of acting during the course was Tarja Pyhähuhta, an actress from Mikkeli, and music was instructed by Risto Nyyssönen. The course was so popular that it was continued under the wings of the wind band. In 1995 we made another big decision, which also solved the problem of lacking rehearsal rooms. We bought an old industrial hall, which was reconstructed on voluntary basis into a 195-seated concert and music theatre hall. There was a contest for the name of the hall. The winning proposal was Tornado. This is how we got all the rehearsals and performances of every band and group under the same roof. The need of hauling instruments and booking rehearsal rooms became minimal.
In the beginning of the 21st century the number of musicians in the band temporarily sank as many youngsters moved elsewhere because of their studies. In autumn 2003 we got a new conductor, Marja Ikonen. She started seeking new musicians to join the old ones in the bands. Today there are about 100 musicians in eight groups. Every other autumn a new elementary group, or the C band, starts. Orchestras and groups are conducted by Marja Ikonen and Miikka Laihonen/Janne Ikonen. SoulSystem, loyal to its name, plays soul and other rhythm music. In Adults’ Pop Orchestra you can play all kinds of wind and band instruments. Musicians of Ihmekvintetti are the best players of Wind band A, and its size varies from 3 to 12 players. Adults´ Orchestra is for beginners.
Both Rantasalmi Wind band and Rantasalmi Youth Theatre are often seen in the cultural life of Rantasalmi as they perform in concerts, musicals and other events. The wind band works in close association with local schools, choirs, orchestras and theatre groups. Rantasalmi Wind band has participated in national Youth Art Actions several times. In 1993 the band was awarded with a silver medal in the national contest of wind bands. The band played in the national wind band event in Savonlinna in spring 2004 and in Hamina Tattoo, an international military music event, in 2006 and in 2016. Rantasalmi Wind band has made twelve trips abroad. The latest was the tour to Estonia in 2015. In 2009 we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the orchestra and the 15th anniversary of the youth theatre. The orchestra released its first album ‘Rantasalmen Puhallinorkesteri 30 vuotta’. In 2014 we celebrated the 35th anniversary of the orchestra and the 20th anniversary of the youth theatre and released a new album and a music video Baila!
THE HISTORY OF RANTASALMI YOUTH THEATRE
Rantasalmi Youth Theatre is run by Rantasalmi Wind Band Society. The Youth Theatre was born in 1994 when the local open college organized a music theatre course for young music students. The purpose was to introduce other performing arts and to show how important the knowledge of music is in the field of various performing arts. Over 50 music students, from the age of 15 to 18, participated in the course. The teacher of acting during the course was Tarja Heiskanen (now Pyhähuhta), an actress from Mikkeli, and music was instructed by Risto Nyyssönen. The course was so popular that we decided to continue as a theatre. In the beginning musicals were performed in various places, e.g. the gym hall of the local school. Quite soon, however, it turned out that due to its wide and permanent activities the society needs its own hall. We bought an old industrial hall, which was reconstructed on voluntary basis into a concert and theatre hall. There was a contest for the name of the hall. The winning proposal was Tornado. This is how we got all the rehearsals and performances of every band and group under the same roof. In the course of years the light and sound systems in Tornado have been accomplished so that today they meet the demands of professional theatres. The musicals by Rantasalmi Youth Theatre have been performed also elsewhere in Finland and abroad: the National Theatre Festival of Open and Workers’ Colleges, the International Youth Theatre Festival in Helsinki, the Festival of Workers’ Theatres, the 1000th Anniversary of the City Trondheim in Norway, Youth Theatre Event in Kankaanpää, Children Theatre Event SPOTTI in Riihimäki and in several neighbouring municipalities. In general actors and musicians of the Youth Theatre come from secondary and upper-secondary schools. Every now and then we have had musicals with younger pupils from primary schools. At present there are about 60 young actors, musicians of the band and students of sound and light systems working together. Professionals of the team are director, conductor, singing teacher, choreographist, light technician, and sound technician. Moreover, costumes, stage set and makeup are made under professional guidance.
Translation: Päivi Koikkalainen-Rovamo
Text: Marja Ikonen
MUSICALS PERFORMED BY RANTASALMI YOUTH THEATRE
Kadonneet lapset (The Lost Children) 1994
Peter Pan 1997
Mikä sotku (What A Mess) 1997
Ice Open – silmät auki 1998
Outolintu (The Strange Bird) 1998
People and Robbers of Cardemon Town 1999
Beauty and the Beast 2000
Pippi Longstocking 2000
Kadonneet lapset (The Lost Children) 2000
West Side Story 2002
Paksu porsas viidakossa (A Fat Pig In The Jungle) 2003
Kevät iskee kuin 7 salamaa (Spring Hits As 7 Lightnings) 2003
Salaisen laakson lähde (The Fountain Of Secret Valley) 2004
Piruetin pyörteissä (In A Whirl Of Pirouette) 2004
Knut Pitkäjalka (Knut Longleg) 2005
Return to the Forbidden Planet 2006
Punaiset ovet (Red Doors) 2007
Rautapuu (Iron Tree) 2009
Hukassa on hyvä paikka 2010
Pikku Vampyyri (The Little Vampire) 2012
The Sound of Music 2012
Satu Vesihiidestä ja Kultasirkasta 2013
Legally Blonde The Musical 2014
Uneton Saimaalla (Sleepless at lake Saimaa) 2015
Ronja Ryövärintytär (Ronia the Robber´s Daughter) 2015
High School Musical On Stage 2016