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Finnish-America’s Copper Country and the Sibelius Academy Music Festival

Program Number: 20651RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/23/2013 - 9/28/2013; 9/22/2014 - 9/27/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Hancock, Michigan
Price starting at: $859.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Music Festivals Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Hidden in the scenic Copper Country of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a flourishing Finnish-American community. Immerse yourself in the Finnish-American influence of the area through hands-on workshops, presentations and demonstrations. Visit an authentic Finnish homestead, a copper mine, and the beautiful Porcupine Mountains. Enjoy classical and contemporary performances by student musicians from the world-renowned Sibelius Music Academy of Helsinki, Finland.


• Meet the Sibelius musicians, discuss their music and attend the finale concert of the Sibelius Academy Music Festival.
• Pluck a tune on the kantele, feast on delectable Finnish dishes, and learn some basic folk dance steps.
• Enjoy the scenic views and waterfalls of the Porcupine Mountains--one of the Upper Peninsula's crown jewels.

Activity Particulars

Walking a few blocks; negotiating uneven, sloping terrain. Many stairs on campus and during field trip activities.

Performances are by students from the Sibelius Academy, but may not include compositions by Jean Sibelius.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Hancock (Michigan)

Gateway to beautiful “Copper Country,” Hancock was founded in 1859 by one of the many copper mining companies that attracted Cornish, German and Finnish immigrant labor. Finnish culture still permeates this historic town, from food to street signs.

Comfortable hotel on the Portage Canal, minutes from Finlandia University.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Lauri Anderson

Lauri Anderson is a tenured professor of English at Finlandia University, and is the author of five works of prose and poetry including “Children of the Kalevala,” and “Hunting Hemingway’s Trout.” A former Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria, Lauri taught high school English, lectured at the University of the Pacfic, and served as chair of English at universities in Micronesia and Turkey. Lauri enjoys sharing his own experiences as an author of Finnish-American works.
Adrienne Hilman

Singer, songwriter and musician, Adrienne Hilman, has pursued her passion for music for more than 20 years. Her focus has been on vocals and stringed instruments, including the guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and five and ten-stringed kantele. In 2011, Adrienne recorded her debut album, “Calling Hours.” Her love of music is infectious, and she enjoys sharing tunes on the kantele — a unique Finnish instrument — during Road Scholar workshops.
Ron Stewart

Ron Stewart has been an owner and chef (sometimes both at the same time!) at a number of restaurants across the country, particularly in Michigan. Always willing to learn the cuisine of any culture, Stewart has worked in Japanese, German, and African-American restaurants, in addition to his own primary culinary focus on modern Upper Midwestern cuisine drawing from a variety of traditions, and emphasizing local food sources. As the caterer to Indiana University’s annual Finnish and Estonian Independence Day celebrations, Stewart gained a following of fans craving his hand-made cold-smoked salmon, beef tongue, and braised cabbage. Despite his love for and understanding of Nordic foods both traditional and modern, you’ll still never find him at a lutefisk dinner.
Rosann Eero Angeli

Rossann and Eero Angeli of Ironwood, Michigan will lead dancers as they learn a series of new folk dances. The Angelis have devoted extensive time and talent to furthering the enjoyment of Finnish culture in America. Rosann has wide experience in cultural events ranging from music, language, newsletter organization dance. Eero, a recent emirge to America has served on Finnish Club Board of Directors, soundboard for Finnish radio, theater and has extensive training and involvement in folkdance workshops both in Finland and Sweden. He has studied under many famous Finnish folk dance teachers.
Liz Baumann

Liz Baumann has been employed at Finlandia University for four years, where she holds the position of coordinator of University Relations and Academic Affairs. This is her first year serving as the group leader with the Road Scholar program and she is looking forward to the experience. Liz graduated in 2010 from Northern Michigan University with a bachelor’s in business management. Liz is originally from Hubbell, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula and is proud to call herself a “Yooper.” Her love for nature is what keeps her here. Liz enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking, backpacking and crafting. The Copper Country is a beautiful place and she is confident that you will love it as much as she does!
Les Haataja

Les Haataja is an assistant Road Scholar group leader, and you will find him to have volumes of information about the people and places of the Copper Country. Les is a third-generation American with 100% Finnish blood running through his veins.He remains active doing things from grooming snowmobile trails to volunteering for everything Finnish. His long list of volunteer work includes FinnFest, Heikinpäivä, interpreter at Hanka Homestead and joining us for his second year with Road Scholar..
Meals and Lodgings
   Ramada Waterfront
  Hancock, MI 5 nights
 Ramada Waterfront
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Facility on beautiful Portage Lake with breath taking views of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Located just steps away from the bridge and great beaches. Near Finlandia University, the only university in North America founded by Finnish immigrants.
  Contact info: 99 Navy St.
Hancock, MI 49930 USA
phone: 906-482-8400
  Room amenities: Free WIFI, coffee maker, refrigerator, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, cable with over 70 channels (including HBO), free local telephone calls.
  Facility amenities: Fifty-one quiet rooms with king or queen-sized beds. Waterfront Restaurant and Upper Deck Lounge onsite with a beautiful view of Portage Lake. Outdoor seating and boat docks available in summer months. Indoor pool, sauna and whirlpool with a view of the water. Business center off lobby. Coin operated laundry / dry cleaning service available. Coffee available in lobby 24 hours.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Check with hotel. Call hotel for rate details.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Check with hotel. Call hotel for rate details.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in begins at 3:00 PM. Road Scholar registration begins at 4:00 PM. Dinner is served at 6:00 PM. You will be staying at Ramada Waterfront that night.
  End of Program:
9:30 AM after program wrap up session. Hotel check out by 12:00 PM. You will be staying at Ramada Waterfront the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Hotel has parking on site.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Hancock, MI
  Nearest city or town:  Houghton
  Nearest highway: 26
  Nearest airport:  Houghton County Memorial Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Hancock, MI
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




Neil's Taxi
phone: 906-482-5515
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 




7 miles


Cash only

Driving Directions
  Ramada Waterfront Hancock, MI from Houghton County Memorial Airport Take US 41 South to Tezcucco Street. Turn right on Tezcucco St. and then left at Navy Street. Address is 99 Navy Street.
  Ramada Waterfront Hancock, MI from the East Take US 41 North across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge stay in right lane. Turn right off the bridge and follow the signs to the hotel. Address is 99 Navy Street.
  Ramada Waterfront Hancock, MI from the South Take US 41 North across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, stay in right lane. Turn right off the bridge and follow the signs to the hotel. Address is 99 Navy Street.
  Ramada Waterfront Hancock, MI from the West Take US 41 North across the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, stay in right lane. Turn right off the bridge and follow the signs to the hotel. Address is 99 Navy Street.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration, Orientation and Welcome!
(Monday, September 23)
 Afternoon: Meet your group leader and receive your packet of materials with the details of your journey into Finnish America’s Copper Country.
 Dinner: A buffet dinner will be served in the Road Scholar meeting space at the hotel.
 Evening: Begin your journey with introductions and orientation led by your group leader. You will be given the details on the program activities and have a chance to visit and participate in an “ice-breaker” with those joining you on your adventure.
Accommodations: Ramada Waterfront
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Finnish History/Author Presentation/Seaman Mineral Museum/ “Meet the Musicians” Sibelius Academy Musician Presentation
(Tuesday, September 24)
 Breakfast: On the Finlandia University campus
 Morning: Enjoy a presentation on the history of Finnish-America’s Copper Country beginning with the Finnish immigration into the area and continuing with an exploration of the unique culture, art, and way of life that were imported with them. A Finlandia University professor and published author will share his writing experiences, which have been heavily influenced by the persevering if not downright peculiar Finns who make the harsh yet beautiful Copper Country their home.
 Lunch: Pasty lunch by Kangas Café
 Afternoon: Explore the many galleries of the Seaman Mineral Museum, which houses the world’s finest collection of Keweenaw Copper District and Lake Superior Iron District Minerals, along with many impressive displays of other North American minerals. This is no ordinary museum!
 Dinner: At the Finlandia Café
 Evening: The “Meet the Musicians” evening will begin with a presentation about Finland’s Sibelius Academy. Sibelius student musicians will talk about their musical paths, the instruments they play, and aspirations for the future. They will welcome your questions and enjoy chatting with you after the presentation.
Accommodations: Ramada Waterfront
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Explore the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula: Copper Harbor/The Jam Pot/ Ft. Wilkins State Park/Hunter’s Point Park/Brockway Mountain
(Wednesday, September 25)
 Breakfast: Ramada Inn Continental Breakfast
 Morning: Head up the scenic Keweenaw Peninsula to Copper Harbor, named from the days when copper was king in the Keweenaw and shipped from this port. Stops will include a wayside featuring a “snow thermometer” followed by stop at The Jam Pot, which is a decadent and reverent jam shop/bakery owned and operated by, of all things, a monastery. Search for beach agates or take a hike toward “lands end” along the scenic trails of Hunter’s Point Park.
 Lunch: Enjoy a fireside lunch at the historic Keweenaw Mountain Lodge.
 Afternoon: Take a self-guided tour through historic Ft. Wilkins, a restored 1844 military outpost. Poke through the numerous shops of Copper Harbor, many featuring items crafted by local artisans. On a clear day, you can see for miles from atop Brockway Mountain, a scenic side trip we’ll plan to take as we depart Copper Harbor.
 Dinner: Dine at the Waterfront Restaurant, overlooking at the Portage Canal. Dinner will be followed by some free time to relax, swim, or take a sauna.
Accommodations: Ramada Waterfront
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hanka Homestead/Folk Dance Workshop or Classical Accordian Concert/Folk Dance with Sibelius Musicians
(Thursday, September 26)
 Breakfast: Ramada Inn Continental Breakfast
 Morning: Learn about the old-world ways of the area’s Finnish immigrants on a fieldtrip to the Hanka Homestead. This restored 1920s self-sufficient farmstead is located on a beautiful, remote hillside at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The house and nine outbuildings were built using Scandinavian techniques for log construction and was the home of Herman Hanka, a disabled miner, his wife, and their four adult children. Restoration of the farm is ongoing. Many artifacts are displayed on the grounds offering a view into life in this remote region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
 Lunch: On Finlandia University Campus
 Afternoon: Participate in a fun and easy Folk Dance workshop facilitated by costumed expert instructors who will get you stepping right in no time. Or, if you prefer, attend a classical accordion concert by a Sibelius Academy student, Ari Lehtonen.
 Dinner: At the Finlandia Café
 Evening: All of the Sibelius musicians will play some lively tunes for an evening of music and dance. Even if you haven’t quite mastered your folk-dancing steps, or don't care to dance at all, you will have a great time.
Accommodations: Ramada Waterfront
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Finnish Cooking and Kantele Workshops/Free Afternoon/A Special Pre-Concert Dinner/Grand Finale Concert of the Sibelius Academy Music Festival
(Friday, September 27)
 Breakfast: Finlandia Café
 Morning: Here’s a workshop you can sink your teeth into! Our cooking demonstration/ workshop: Finnish Foods: Adventures in Tradition. Later, you can feast on the fruits of your labor at lunch. Even the most musically un-inclined can learn to play the five-string kantele. You’ll soon be plucking a catchy tune on this national instrument of Finland.
 Lunch: Dishes prepared in the Finnish cooking workshop or the Finlandia Café.
 Afternoon: Take the afternoon off! You deserve it. A chance to do your “own thing.” Perhaps you would like to visit the campus bookstore, take a walk along the canal, or browse the Hancock and Houghton downtown areas.
 Dinner: At the Miscowaubik Club located near the theater. The Finlandia Board of Trustees will join us for dinner and the concert.
 Evening: Grand Finale Concert of the Sibelius Academy Music Festival, featuring folk and classical musicians. The concert venue will be at the historic Calumet Theatre. The musicians will delight and dazzle you with their obvious love for their music.
Accommodations: Ramada Waterfront
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Our wonderful experience must come to an end as we say goodbye to our fellow Road Scholars!
(Saturday, September 28)
 Breakfast: Ramada Inn Breakfast Center
 Morning: Get together one last time to exchange information and give your input on your Finnish-American/Sibelius Concert experience. Finlandia University can’t resist giving a “test.” Instead of a grade you’ll have a chance to win prizes. So, remember to pay attention—you might win something! Check out from rooms by noon.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The Kalevala

Author: Recommend translatons by Eino Friberf or Francis P. Magoun

Description: The Kalevala is the great Finnish epic, which like the Iliad and the Odyssey, grew out of a rich oral tradition with prehistoric roots. It was assembled in the 1840s by the Finnish scholar Elias Lonnrot, who took 'dictation' from the performance of a folk singer, in much the same way as our great collections from the past, from Homeric poems to medieval songs and epics, have probably been set down. Published in 1849, it played a central role in the march towards Finnish independence and inspired some of Sibelius's greatest works.

Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers: Folk Traditions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Author: Richard M. Dorson

Description: Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers, based on folklorist Richard Dorson's extensive fieldwork in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, presents and ponders the folk narratives of the region’s loggers, miners, lake sailors, trappers, and townsfolk. This is a great collection of the 20th century folk traditions covering ethnic and occupational traditions in the Upper Peninsula with Finns figuring prominently.

History of the Finns in Michigan

Author: Armas K. Holmio

Description: Written by the former Suomi College (now Finlandia University) archivist, this book details the social movements of Michigan's Finns, as well as the origins of many, if not most, of the state's Finnish communities.

Down from Basswood

Author: Lynn Maria Laitala

Description: Down from Basswood is a collection of 23 interconnected short stories in the form of portraits about people of northern Minnesota, particularly Finnish immigrants and their interaction with natives. This collection of oral history-based tales details the lives of several generations of Finns and Ojibwe in the Boundary Waters area of Northern Minnesota.

Finnish Fibbles, Sagas from Sisula, Tall Timber Tales

Author: Jingo Viitala Vachon

Description: These are 3 different books which are a series of humorous stories detailing traditional ethnic life in the Copper Country Finnish village of Toivola.

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