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Ameriikan Poijat and the PMMF String Octet/Pine Mountain Music Festival

Classical music at the forefront

July 7, 2011
By ZACH KUKKONEN - Features Editor/DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Fans of classical music will certainly get their fill this week, with both a brass septet and a string octet putting on performances as part of the Pine Mountain Music Festival.

Ameriikan Poijat, a Finnish-American brass septet based out of Minnesota, will play at 7 p.m. July 14 at the Calumet Theatre, and the Pine Mountain Music Festival String Octet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Grace United Methodist Church in Houghton.

Ameriikan Poijat, Finnish for "Boys of America," was founded in 1990 and has performed around the world. While it specialize in Finnish composers, Ameriikan Poijat can play just about anything, featuring a number of musical styles and genres.

"They are heavily Finnish in their orientation and repertoire, but not to the exclusion of anything else," PMMF Executive Director Peter Van Pelt said. "They're capable of doing all things from classical to jazz; they're very eclectic in that way."

In addition to its usual selections of music, Ameriikan Poijat will debut three new works, including the "Rockland Fanfare" by Jukka Linkola, composer of the "Rockland" opera. The concert will also include narration by Andy Hill, the grandson of Alfred Laakso - the storyteller in the "Rockland" opera.

"Their reputation is very good," Van Pelt said. "It will be a very engaging performance I'm sure."

Also performing over the next week is the PMMF String Octet, which is comprised of eight members of the orchestra for "Rockland" brought in as some of the best of the best in Michigan. Audiences will finally get to see the faces behind the sounds they hear from the orchestra pit.

"These people generally are in the pit for the orchestra where they're scarcely seen by the audience," Van Pelt said. "For this show, here they are on the stage in the light of day."

The program will include the works of Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn. It will be a different show for many of the octet, as most of them are used to working in a larger orchestra, and they will get more of a chance to demonstrate their musical mastery.

"This will be a very dynamic concert," PMMF Artistic Director Joshua Major said in a press release. "The pieces are masterworks, and the players are superlative musicians."

For more information, visit or call 888-309-7861. For tickets, call the Rozsa Center Box Office at 487-3200.



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