Born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Seppo Olavi Haapamaki discovered his deep affection for music at age nine, when he assembled a band with two classmates and gave a presentation to their grade four class. He never imagined that this childhood endeavour would develop into a lifelong passion for ensemble work.
Seppo studied accordion at the Karl Pukara Music Studio and achieved Grade 10 level in performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. Taught by Iona Reed Pukara, Lorraine (Lazarenko) Santala and Ruth Johnson, Seppo competed in annual Kiwanis Music Festivals and at national and international competitions, most notably, the North American Accordion Federation of Music championships held in Los Angeles in 1973.
As a teenager, Seppo entertained Sudbury’s Finnish community at Suomi Ranta Hall and Sampo Hall, and he was also a member of the popular local rock band Apollo with Kari Kamarainen on guitar, Floyd Gibson on bass and Dave Gustafson on drums. Their initial lead vocalist was Liisa Lehto, followed by Erkki Kinos.
Seppo earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree from Laurentian University in 1980. His love for music and playing the accordion and oboe have followed him to every community his mining career has taken him.
For many years, he performed with the Sudbury Philharmonic and Sudbury Symphony Orchestra. Currently residing in Timmins, Ontario, Seppo is employed as Senior Mine Engineer at the Young-Davidson Mine in Matatchewan. He is principal oboist for the Timmins Symphony Orchestra and he also enjoys helping with music worship at St. Paul’s Emmanuel Community Church in nearby Englehart.
Suomi Fest 2020 welcomes Seppo home to entertain Sudbury audiences once again.