The university’s Ukraine Appeal was launched in March 2022 to support students and researchers fleeing Ukraine who wished to move to the University of Helsinki to continue their studies. To date over 14,000€ has been donated by over 100 members of the university community and there’s still time to donate. Make a donation online.
One of the organisations that decided to donate to the Appeal was Laulu-Miehet, which made a donation of 1197€ .
Founded in 1914, Laulu-Miehet was formed for practical reasons: The country's leading Finnish-language male choir, Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat (The Singers of the Student Union), was then a choir of only young students. Singers who finished their studies and reached adulthood were left out of the male choir activities in Helsinki. As a result, Laulu-Miehet was born.
Since then, Laulu-Miehet has grown from strength to strength. The Helsinki-based choir now consists of more than 50 singers aged 35-70, including many former Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat singers.
Regularly performing at events and recording albums, one of the Choir’s aims is to highlight lesser-known choral composers and songs.
– We have many completely forgotten male choir composers and we want to highlight them and their unknown works. We just recorded Erkki Melartin's entire male choir production and next we will work on Erik Fordell's songs, says the choir's director Matti Hyökki.
– Our goal is to refine and diversify the picture of the quality and scope of Finnish choral composition. We consider this a service to the country's cultural life.
The invasion of Ukraine prompted unprecedented action
In March 2022 Laulu-Miehet took an unprecedented step. For the first time, they decided to donate the proceeds from one of their concerts to charity. In particular, the University of Helsinki’s Ukraine Appeal.
– The idea of helping was born at the beginning of the war, when we were thinking as a choir and community of a suitable way to help, says Veli-Pekka Talvela, the chairman of Laulu-Miehet and alumnus of the University of Helsinki.
– The University of Helsinki's Ukraine Appeal seemed like a natural way for us to help, so we decided to use the proceeds of our spring concert for the benefit of Ukrainian students and researchers.
The choir's director Matti Hyökki created the spring concert’s program with the theme of Ukraine: the performance began with the Ukrainian national anthem, at the beginning of which the audience stood up/rose to stand, out of respect for Ukraine. The atmosphere ranged from patriotic songs to joyful May Day songs. Starring, however, was Erik Fordell, whose compositions premiered at the concert.
Thanks in part to Laulu-Miehet’s donation of 1197€, 19 Ukrainian students have now been awarded grants to support themselves whilst they undertake non-degree studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences.
However, since awarding the grants, an additional five Ukrainian students have moved to the university to undertake non-degree studies, with more expected in the future. In addition, we are hoping to bring more researchers who have left Ukraine to the university.
We are therefore calling on our university community to ask for your help once again.
By donating to the Ukraine Appeal you can help us to support students and researchers who have fled Ukraine and wish to continue with studies and research at the University of Helsinki. You can find out more about our Crisis Fund and donate here.
On behalf of the University of Helsinki, we would like to thank Laulu Miehet again for its generous donation to our Ukraine Appeal. Read more about the choir and its meritorious history on their website.