Helsinki Police Band
The Helsinki Police Band was founded in 1947 to improve relations between the police and
the public. The band has become, through the decades, a central part of Helsinki Police
department’s public relations activities.
In the beginning, the musicians were gathered to the police mainly from orchestras of The Finnish Defence Forces. In addition to playing music in the orchestra, the musicians were serving in different units of the Helsinki Police Department, for example as secretaries and guards. A significant step was taken in 1989 when it was decided to incorporate the Helsinki Police Band into the police force proper as a part of the traffic and special duties branch. The musicians received police training and 40 new constables were sent out to control the city’s traffic.
Their duties nowadays are divided approximately equally between music and traffic control, which means that they have to master two quite different kinds of work. On the other hand, this gives them a much broader outlook on life and allows them to be present at celebrations of all kinds as well as coming up against the more grim sides of life in their police work.
The reforms of 1989 also meant that all the musicians were gathered together under one roof and their musical interests could be placed on a more efficient and professional footing. A larger number of performances could be given, and their repertoire could be expanded. They make approximately 150 performances per year, some in the full, splendid complement of a symphonic band and others in smaller groups: a Big Band, Nallekopla (for children), a brass septet, a brass quintet, a wind quintet, Tanssikopla (dance music) and a jazz ensemble.
The Helsinki Police Band also serves as a nationally visible, or at least audible, PR organization for the police force, attracting audiences of all ages, sizes and descriptions and adapting its music to their preferences and requests. One of the main aims, however, is to produce musical and educational experiences targeted mainly at children and young people, in the form of concerts for schools, visits to children’s day centres by the Nallekopla group, open-air concerts etc.
The band’s school concerts are usually linked with information about road safety or the dangers of drugs. Close co-work is being done with constables from other units of the Police Department. The band has also always managed to find a suitably versatile conductor who is able not only to direct the band but also to compose and arrange its music and to give talks during the interval. The best known among its conductors over the years have been Georg Malmstén, Arthur Fuhrmann, Petri Juutilainen and Esko Heikkinen.
Although the band is part of the Helsinki Police Department, its activities are not restricted to Helsinki; it also gives concerts elsewhere in the country. The band has also given concerts abroad: in Estonia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Russia and France.
Sami Ruusuvuori is working as the chief conductor of Helsinki Police band. He started in the position in November 2012. Under his direction Helsinki Police Band has began concert series with star artists at the Savoy Theatre, educational concerts for schoolchildren, Christmas concerts as well as sing-along concerts. New concerts have obtained a great success in a short period of time.
Ruusuvuori was working previously, in years 2011 and 2012, as the chief of the Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces. With him Conscript Band did spectacular concert tours to Italy and Switzerland participating in the Modena and Basel Tattoo events.
From 2006 to 2011, Ruusuvuori was working as a conductor of the Finnish Defence Forces’ most prestigious band, the Guards Band. Besides working with the concert ensemble, he worked with Guards Combo and Guards Septet, which under his conducting had concerts as far as Japan. Ruusuvuori was one of the founders of the Guards Band festival and was working as an artistic director of it.
Sami Ruusuvuori graduated with a Masters Degree in Music in 2005 from the Sibelius
Academy’s wind instrument conducting class with conducting a concert band as his major. Trombone is Ruusuvuoris’ own instrument and he is a founder member of the Helsinki Brass Quartet, which also holds concerts all over the world. Ruusuvuori is working closely with composers of new music and has conducted many premieres.
Ruusuvuori has trained many concert bands around Finland. He has participated in many
festivals as both a conductor and teacher. In addition to military bands, his calendar has been
filled by guest concerts with the wind players of the Finnish Radio, Lahti and Oulu
Symphony Orchestras. He has visited as a conductor in Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Denmark.