On a perfect summer night, Songs of Hope performed an outdoor concert at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault.
AS THE GOLDEN ORB of the sun shifted across the sky, as dragonflies dipped above the audience, as a distant train rumbled, Songs of Hope musicians performed before a rapt audience at River Bend Nature Center in Faribault on Saturday evening.
The performers focused on hope, like their name.
And the message they brought—in their dancing and in their singing—was hope.
Songs from Guatemala.
Inspirational defines these performers who have been attending the St. Paul based international performing arts summer camp, Songs of Hope. Seventy musicians from 15 countries are currently on tour, presenting 33 concerts in 18 days.
Chinese youth perform as the sun sets.
Songs of Hope is “about people getting together and sharing culture and lives,” Program Director Tom Surprenant said as he introduced the group.
Performing outdoors at River Bend.
But with audiences, like the one in Faribault, they share so much more: possibilities, hope, peace, freedom, justice…
In nearly constant motion.
I was beyond impressed by these young people who sang with such force and enthusiasm and rarely stopped moving as they presented 90 minutes of songs spanning multiple nations from India to Jamaica to Guatemala to Italy to Russia and many other places.
The band provided upbeat music that makes you want to dance.
Even though I could not always understand, music bridges language and cultural differences.
Selections from Jamaica included “Linstead Market” and “Stand Up For Your Rights.”
Truly, skin color, eye shape, height nor any other physical characteristic mattered as these youth performed.
Nevaeh, the daughter of friends, wore the perfect shirt for the concert.
They were to me just kids sharing a hopeful message through song and dance, showing us that we are all human beings who can get along if we make the effort, living in harmony and peace with one another.
Look at the fun these youth had singing “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream,” a song about ice cream, a universal treat.
Especially moving was the group’s performance of “I Am Malala,” based on the experience of the young Pakistani girl who was shot simply for pursuing education. “Fight for what you believe in…for education…infinite hope.”
Hands joined in hope.
After attending this concert, I am, indeed, hopeful.
My heart went out to this boy from Israel given the current situation there.
And I expect so is the young soloist from Israel who sported a t-shirt reading “PEACE & HOPE from ISRAEL.”
FYI: CLICK HERE to see a schedule of the remaining performances in the summer concert schedule, which ends on July 27. The final concerts are in St. Paul, Roseville and Montgomery.
Please check back tomorrow for additional photos from the Faribault Songs of Hope concert. If you have an opportunity to attend a performance, do. Songs of Hope will inspire and uplift you.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling