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SAVEL CHOIR

The SAVEL CHOIR was one of the most prominent Finnish organizations in Cleveland for almost 30 years. Organized in 1937 and named after the Finnish word for "melody," the choir's purpose was to preserve the Finnish culture through music. Dr. Waino A. Mackey was the first director. An accomplished pianist and instructor of piano, he arranged many of the selections sung by the choir, largely from Finnish folk music and compositions by Finnish composers such as Jean Sibelius. After Mackey's retirement in 1954, Arthur Saarinen, director of orchestral activities in the FAIRVIEW PARK schools, became the director of the choir and served in that capacity until 1966. In addition to performing an annual concert each spring, the Savel Choir sang at various nationality functions and Finnish festivals in Cleveland and in neighboring communities such as Fairport Harbor. In 1957 the choir performed in the annual U.S.-Canadian Finnish Music Festival in Ontario, Canada. It also made an appearance on WEWS-TV in the early 1960s. Many of the charter members were still with the Savel Choir when it disbanded in 1966.