The cycle of commemorative years is continuing. Just as we are concluding the centenary of Finland's independence, the preparations for the next one are already in full swing. The proud first 100 years of the Finnish Defence Forces will be celebrated in almost 130 official events, and I do not even try to estimate the number of unofficial festivities. I dare to predict, however, that in 2018, the Finnish military bands grouped under the current organisation will again give a record number of performances. And this is by no means the end of the story. In 2019, we will mark the jubilee of Finnish military music with the bicentenary of the Guards Band, the centenary of the Navy Band and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Lapland Military Band. For military musicians, these festivities will mean countless performances, extensive preparations, planning, rehearsals, arrangements and composing, as wells as coordination and organisation in huge scale. It is easy to be wise after the event but the fact remains that this cycle of commemorative years has been the worst possible time to make cuts in our resources. Well, ‘sisu’ also helped us through the Winter War in 1939-40, even though Finnish soldiers were extremely poorly equipped for the conflict.
Next year, we will perform to the personnel of the Finnish Defence Forces on countless occasions. The jubilee of the Finnish Defence Forces will, however, also be seen and heard by the public. The Hamina Tattoo, which will take place in late July/early August, will definitely be one of the high points of military music next year. According to the preliminary information, the event will attract an unprecedented number of international performers and they will be joined by all Finnish military bands. The best way to keep up to date with our offerings is to check our website at www.konserttikalenteri.puolustusvoimat.fi You can also follow the schedule of individual bands in Instagram or in Facebook. The content for these social media sites is produced by the military bands’ own media teams, which received the Finnish Defence Forces’ communications organisation of the year award in 2017. A good way to prepare for the jubilee is to check the latest offerings in the online shop of Finnish military music. At http://sotilasmusiikki.swat.fi you can order for yourself or your friends such products as the Pro Patria disc set released for the Finnish Defence Forces jubilee or the CD of the Air Force Big Band.
Traditions are still extremely important for performers of military music but at the same time, we have also set our sights firmly towards the future. I invite you to join us in the work to ensure the vibrancy and success of Finnish culture, now and in the future.Jyrki Koskinen The Chief Conductor of the Finnish Defence Forces, Lieutenant Colonel (Mus.)