Brief History of Vaput

Recent Milestones

Vaput is the oldest Finnish speaking women's choir still active today. The choir was officially founded in 1910 but it had actually started already in 1906.

At those times the language of the "cultured people" in Finland was Swedish. There was very little existing choir music in Finnish, especially for women. Vaput did a lot of work to change the situation by commissioning and publishing new choral works in Finnish.

The first director of the choir was Mrs Alli Hannikainen, a teacher of music and the wife of the composer P.J. Hannikainen. He composed and arranged a lot of music for Vaput at that time, as did many other Finnish composers of the early 20th C.

The name "Vaput" refers to the First of May, called Vappu in Finnish. The small group of the singing women that gradually grew into a proper choir performed to the public every First of May. It is a tradition that has continued ever since. Since 1955, every First of May there has been a non-formal coffee concert with home-baked cakes and plenty of singing.


CONDUCTORS OF VAPUT

Ms Alli Hannikainen 1910-1917, music teacher

Ms Tyyne Jussila 1917-1924, teacher
Ms Aale Bergius 1924-1928, singer, singing teacher
Mr Torsten Kaukoranta, 1928-1932, journalist
Mr Juhani Pohjanmies, 1933-1935, composer
Mr Enok Kosonen, 1936-1951, conductor
Mr Vilho Kekkonen, 1951-1974, cantor, singer
Ms Maija Fredriksson, 1974-1994, music teacher
Ms Liisa Räsänen, 1994-1998, music teacher
Ms Ulla Kotamäki, 1998-today, music instructor (Maija-Liisa Hyppönen and Eeva Kivi-van Zantvoort as substitutes)

In 2016 the song group Tuulantei published a Christmas CD.

In 2015 Hilkka Heikkilä, the vice conductor of Vaput, was chosen the vice chair of Suomen Naiskuoroliitto, The Finnish Association of Women's Choirs. The conductor of Vaput, Ulla Kotamäki works in the Music Committee.

Vaput published a CD named "Sydämellä Vaput" in 2012. It contains choral pieces especially composed for Vaput. The oldest songs originate from 1917 and the youngest ones from the 100-year competition held in 2010. The CD can be ordered from the choir, price €10 + postage (VAT 0%), email oraatikainen at gmail.com.

Vaput took part in the international choir competition in Verona, Italy, in April 2011. The choir got a silver trophy.

Vaput was awarded the title of Women's Choir of the Year in 2010 by The Finnish Association of Women's Choirs. This was the third time in the history of the choir.

In 2009, Vaput announced a competition of new works for female voices to celebrate the 100 years of singing in a Finnish speaking female choir. The new choir works were printed into a booklet which can be bought through Naiskuoroliitto for €12. The CD Sydämellä, Vaput was born partly from this material.

Year 2010 Vaput got the Jyväskylä Prize awarded by the Association of Jyväskylä.

An exhibition of the history of the choir was held in the Craft Museum of Finland in 2010 presenting the choir through dresses, decorations, photos, recordings, scrapbooks etc.

For those who understand Finnish, there is a publication Vuosisadan kuoromatka - Vaput 1910-2010, the story of Vaput in 362 pages.

Vaput, Tyyne Jussila, Alli Hannikainen and Juhani Pohjanmies in 1935.

Vaput and Ulla Kotamäki in 2015