‘Creating beautiful people’

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That’s how Helina Leino Pakola defines her mission.

Here she is in a photo snapped by my MPR colleague Jeff Thompson as she helps a student tune his violin before an Evergreen School of Performing Arts concert in Edina, Minn. June 14, 2012.

The people in this case are the 35 music, dance and vocal students at her Twin Cities performing arts school.

Pakola has been performing and teaching for decades, first in her native Finland, then in Virginia on Minnesota’s Iron Range and now in the Twin Cities.

Yes, some of the students have been concert level performers and that’s gratifying.

However she says her goal is to convey to her students an appreciation of the arts that they can carry into their adult years as ticket buyers and supporters. You can hear more of my conversation with Pakola in tonight’s Minnesota Sounds & Voices story on All Things Considered.

She’s pulled together a reunion of alums from her performing group, The Singing Strings. They’ll put on shows Friday evening in Virginia at Kaleva Hall and Sunday afternoon at the Minnesota Discovery Center near Chisholm.

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