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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 December, 2003, 04:05 GMT
Choirs of the world: Tapiola children
BBC World Service's World Today programme is looking at five different choirs and five different musical communities - all united by a common goal of maintaining or reviving their respective traditions and making these relevant to the present.

The tapiola choir is one of the most successful children's stories in Finland.

The choir is formed of Finnish children, and the songs they perform are about the celebration of childhood.

The philosophy behind the choir is that children should be allow to be themselves through the music.

"The choir spirit is great, as is the mood inside the choir," singer Tooly Tokola - now 16 but who has been with the Tapiola since the age of seven - told BBC World Service's The World Today programme.

"Everybody's friends. It's great fun."

Finnish celebration

Conductor Kari Ala Pollanen believes that the main objective of the choir is "to educate - it's not only the music."

The choir has performed songs in more than 40 languages. Each member is also able to play at least one instrument.

"The kids, they are very flexible," Mr Ala Pollanen said.

"They do it much better than the adults would ever do, because they are not afraid so much."

But many of the songs are also celebrations of Finnish nationality, particularly at Christmas.

For example one song, Kun Maars Un Hankii, is about love - and Christmas trees.

"I remember that I've heard it since I was very little," Tooly said.

"It's quite a dear song to me and I think it's beautiful. I always hear it every Christmas."

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Singer Tooly Tokola
"Everybody's friends. It's great fun"


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