2003 Winter Congress
March 1-3, 2003 Helsinki, Finland
Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA)
Kansainvälinen Harmonikkaliitto CIA

Talvikokous 2003 / Winter Congress 2003

Please note: This page reviews the kind hospitality of the Finnish Accordion Association, the Ikaalinen Accordion Festival and the Finnish Accordion Institute during the recent Winter Congress held in Finland. Details concerning meetings, such as minutes from the meeting of the General Assembly and Music Committee, as well as other details concerning the CIA will be mailed to CIA Members.
Saturday, 1st March 2003
  • Day - Arrival in Helsinki
  • 7.00 PM - Meeting at at the Hotel
  • 10.00 PM - Dinner

Delegates representing the United Kingdom, USA/New Zealand, Austria, France, Russia, Hungary, Finland and Denmark arrived at the Hotel Sokos Vaakuna in Helsinki, Finland for the 109th General Assembly of the CIA.

Registered Delegates:

  • Kevin Friedrich, CIA President - USA/New Zealand
  • Kimmo Mattila, CIA Vice President - Finland
  • Raymond Bodell, CIA Vice President - United Kingdom
  • Frederic Deschamps, President of Music Committee - France
  • Walter Maurer, General Secretary - Austria
  • Jacques Mornet, Music Committee - France
  • Viatscheslav Semionov, Music Committee - Russia
  • John Leslie, Music Committee - United Kingdom
  • Giullaume Rollet, Delegate - France
  • Panna Grigoncza, 2003 Honorary Vice President, Hungary
  • Mikael Zuschlag, Delegate - Hungary
  • Harley Jones, Music Committee, Fiji (unable to attend)

The General Assembly opened with three performances by young Finnish accordionists Johanna Tiainen and Harri and Henri Arvila. The program was as follows:

  • Matias Seiber - Introduction and Allegro
    Johanna Tiainen - Accordion and Anton Kilpi - Cello (center)
  • Lasse Pihlajamaa, Romanian Rhapsody
    Harri Arvila - Accordion (left)
  • Lasse Pihlajamaa, Variations
    Henri Arvila - Accordion (right)

Meetings were held discussing the business of the CIA and the upcoming Coupe Mondiale in Slovakia and Hungary. At the conclusion of the General Assembly, the delegates enjoyed a dinner as guests of the Finnish Accordion Association.

Sunday, 2nd March 2003
  • 10:00 AM - meeting followed by sight seeing or other program
  • 3.00 PM - departure by bus from Helsinki to Turku (chartered accordion bus)
  • 5.00 PM - arrival in Turku
  • 6.30 PM - departure of cruise on board "Silja Europa"
The morning saw the conclusion of the General Assembly followed by a sightseeing tour of Helsinki and the trip to Turku to take part in the annual Accordion Cruise which is a fund raising event for the Ikaalinen Accordion Festival.

Pictured from left to right are CIA Delegates: Kimmo Mattila (and daughter), Raymond Bodell, Frederic Deschamps, Panna Grigoncza, Giullaume Rollet, Viatchislav Semionov, John Leslie, Kevin Friedrich and Jacques Mornet.

Almost 3,000 accordionists from all over Finland came for the overnight cruise on the Silja Europa from Turku, Finland to Sweden and back.

The annual cruise features non stop accordion music of many styles, including Finnish Folk Music and dancing, Cajun, Tex Mex, Jazz, accordion orchestras and ensembles, trade show displays of instruments, recordings and music and an accordion competition.

Some of the performances were impromptu ones where entertainers both young and old played to the gathering crowds. Others were scheduled concerts by accordion orchestras groups and soloists.

Among the artists were popular Finnish entertainer Erkki Friman who performed in the Moulin Rouge Theater and Cajun accordionist Matti Lepänhaara, who along with bands such as the Crawfish Kings performed at one of the Pubs.

Accordion music is found all over the boat, including in the restaurants, hallways, bars, theaters, conference rooms, restaurants, and even over the intercom and on the TV.

The CIA Music Committee held their meeting on board in the Conference Center, where such items as the upcoming programs and Test Piece Music details were formulated to present to the General Assembly to be held in Slovakia and Hungary.

Delegates are pictured here during a quick break on the outside boat deck.

Following the meeting CIA Delegates were guests of the Executive Committees of the Ikaalinen Accordion Festival, the Finnish Accordion Institute and the Finnish Accordion Association for an official dinner.
Monday, 3rd March 2003
  • Daytime - on Boat
    Meetings and concerts with Finnish Accordionists
  • 5.30 PM - arrival back in Turku - chartered bus to Ikaalinen
The standing room only audience watched a competition held at the Moulin Rouge Theater which serves as a selection process for a final competition to be held at the summer Ikaalinen Accordion Festival. Candidates were required to present their programs in the style of an entertainment performance.

Each contestant was asked a couple of questions, to allow audience interaction.

The finals will be held as a TV show, where the contestants will also be required to relate to the audience and perform with a backing band, professional stage lighting and commentator.

CIA Delegate Viatchislav Semionov served on the jury which saw an entire day of competition held in two rounds. The following accordionists were selected to perform in the final competition to be held in July:

Silver Accordion (Hopeinen Harmonikka) children under 10 years:
Taneli Järvenpää, Hermanni Morander, Meeri Koskinen, Vilma Avikainen, Aino Kivikallio, Liisa Niinistö, Saara Wasama and Golden Accordion (Kultainen Harmonikka) without age limit, Elisa Inkinen, Tomi Karttunen, Henna-Maija Kuki, Janne Mäkinen, Satu Sarkoranta and Jonna Pirttijoki.
Not used to the northern winters, members were amazed at the way the giant cruise liner made its way through the ice sheet (pictured above) which stretched almost all the way to Sweden.

After arrival back in Turku, delegates who had planned to travel back to Helsinki, were redirected for an impromptu visit to the town which serves as headquarters of Finnish accordion life, Ikaalinen.

Of course the only way to get to Ikaalinen, is onboard the 'Accordion' bus!

Tuesday, 4th March 2003
CIA Delegates tried their hands at a Finnish tradition of ice fishing, where delegates contributed to the catching of some 20 fish.

Here delegates watch as CIA Vice President Kimmo Mattila demonstrates the technique of drilling through the ice to prepare the hole for fishing.
Some (such as President Kevin Friedrich pictured right) drilled the ice hole, some caught the fish, some offered moral support and some just waited....(such as Jacques Mornet, pictured left), all necessary ingredients into a successful fishing venture in subzero temperatures.

The frozen lake provides a host of winter activities such as fishing, skiing and for the brave, even swimming after the Sauna. The frozen lake also provides a quick link between the opposite sides of the lake as locals drive across the ice.

Apparently some cars are lost each year, as with the thinning ice in Spring, someone is tempted to try just one more time to cross the ice before the summer melting forces travelers to drive around the lake again.
Just as the only way to get to Ikaalinen is by the 'accordion' bus, the only place for a bird to make a home in Ikaalinen is in the 'accordion' bird nest!

This nest sits in the tree outside the office of the Finnish Accordion Institute and is said to be quite a trendy home for nest makers during the season!

With the bird nest in sight, next stop after fishing, CIA delegates were treated to a visit to the headquarters of the Ikaalinen Accordion Festival which holds its office in the same building as the Tourist Information Center, follwed by the home of the Finnish Accordion Association and the Finnish Accordion Institute.

Much of Finland accordion life centers around these three important groups. The Ikaalinen Accordion Festival offers performances, with the summer festival and annual cruise attracting thousands.

The Finnish Accordion Institute caters to academic accordion activities with the archives of accordion activities, publishing new and past accordion works, CD's and other important accordion projects, including a museum and offering support for the summer festival and cruise. The third group is the Finnish Accordion Association which has some 5,000 plus members. This gives accordionists an opportunity to belong to a central accordion family, and an important part of this association is the regular publication of their news, a 50 plus page high quality magazine entitled "Hanuri." This terrific cooperation between three major accordion groups is an inspiration to the accordion world on the ability of groups to work together for the common goal of promoting the accordion.

(It should also be mentioned that in addition to these three groups promoting the accordion, many conservatories also accept the accordion for studies, the most famous being the
Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.)

In addition, there is also an accordion Museum which houses over 100 instruments of various styles, including the 'Accordion Bench" demonstrated here (left) by Kimmo Mattila. Having the appearance of a piano stool, and having used it to sit on while testing some of the instruments, delegates were surprised when Kimmo went over and began to play it!
The above are pictures are also from the accordion museum. Kevin Friedrich plays one of the button instruments which was constructed to give the appearnace of a piano accordion as well. To the right you see some of the many instruments included in the collection.
Pictured right is Ray Bodell trying out the local transportation. Children use these sleds to travel to school and adults use them to go shopping. During the day, dozens and dozens of these sleds are parked outside the school.

Many thanks to CIA Vice President Kimmo Mattila for organizing the Winter Congress in Finland and all the wonderful hospitality that was offered to the delegates.

Also a special thank you to Minna Kulmala, the Ikaalinen Accordion Festival organizer for hosting the CIA delegates onboard the Silja Europa Finnish Accordion Cruise. It was a very interesting look into the Finnish accordion life and we are very grateful for the kind hospitality that was offered to us.

We are very proud to have the Finnish Accordion Association as a CIA member and sincerely appreciate all the work they do on behalf of the accordion.
CIA Contact in Finland

For further information on any of the accordion activities held in Finland, please contact Kimmo Mattlia, CIA Vice President in Finland: kimmo.mattila@harmonikkaliitto.net

Confederation Internationale des Accordeonistes (CIA) - General Secretary
Dietrichgasse 51/19, A - 1030, Vienna, AUSTRIA   Phone/Fax: +43 1-712 0960   E-mail: icaccordions@netway.at

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