Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

International musicians bring message of hope to Faribault in free concert July 12, 2018

Songs from Guatemala performed during a previous Songs of Hope concert in Faribault. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo July 2014.


THE WORD HOPE holds power. Light over darkness. Joy over despair. Positive over negative.


Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


I cling to those four letters in this season of great discontent, anger and divisiveness in our nation. I hope. For better days—days when we respect our differences, when we get along, when we treat each other with kindness.


Songs of Hope performers present a selection from India. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2014.


More than ever, we need messages of peace, love and respect. Like those of the St. Paul-based Songs of Hope International Youth Ensemble, performing a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at the Paradise Center for the Arts in historic downtown Faribault.


Selections from Jamaica included “Linstead Market” and “Stand Up For Your Rights” at the 2014 concert. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


My community, which has experienced its share of issues related to the cultural diversity of our city, needs to hear this music celebrating cultural diversity.


Ready to perform in traditional Chinese attire in 2014. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


These young people from all around the world will deliver. I attended a Songs of Hope concert in Faribault four years ago. These attendees of a six-week performing arts summer camp totally rocked it with their energy, joy and singing. And messages of hope.


Waiting to perform at the 2014 concert at River Bend Nature Center. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2014.


I hope every single seat in the PCA theater is filled Sunday evening. With peoples of all races—from the many Somali immigrants who live downtown to our Hispanic families to the descendants of those who have always called Faribault home to individuals like me, a transplant from the prairie of southwestern Minnesota.

Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “International musicians bring message of hope to Faribault in free concert”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Sounds like a great event. What a wonderful evening the will be for so many reasons.

  2. Murphy's Law Says:

    Now that looks like a fun concert to attend. And I bet each groups performance was outstanding. The look of complete joy and happiness on the faces of those kids is priceless.

    We can’t ever lose HOPE Audrey. If we do, we lose everything.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    My community, which has experienced its share of issues related to the cultural diversity of our city

    I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Humans are tribalistic by nature and no matter how enlightened a community feels it is, there will always, always, always be some undercurrent of ill will. It is like crime, it will always be there – the only question is whether it will exist below an acceptable level.

    There are many positives to the trend of diversifying communities – but there are also negatives and these should be confronted openly and honestly.

    There are neighborhoods in the Twin Cities (and other cities) that existed like small towns where trust was built up over generations by families who knew families who went to school together and did business with each other – then within a few years the neighborhood was transformed by thousands of immigrants and suddenly no one knew their neighbors or could speak the language in the stores.

    This destruction of the neighborhood culture is both real and tragic, and while others might find it interesting to enjoy exotic new restaurants, scents and sounds. It is entirely legitimate to fear, “is this going to happen to us?”

    There is another aspect to diversity that is rather ugly. It is the flip-side of a tight homogeneous community rejecting outsiders.

    Back when we lived in Blooming Prairie, we had a family occasion when we invited my entire extremely large, very diverse, extended family to our house and a number of people commented about how “white” (read lack of diversity) the town was.

    The truth is, the town is more diverse than it appears but that is not the point. These family members would never argue that a small town in Thailand, Nigeria or Guatemala lacks diversity and therefore needs more people of European stock.

    And therein is the rub.

    Our national and urban culture values diversity, as well it should, because the nation is becoming more racially and ethnically global – but from a small town point of view – it appears (and sometimes correctly) that the unique culture of small towns is not valued and as seen as something to be gotten rid of.

    In other words, America is becoming more alienated from its roots and is sometimes aggressively rejecting what was once valued.

    And these two things, the potential destruction of community and the lack of respect for traditional culture often manifests itself as a hostility to immigrants.

    The only way to balance this – is to talk about it, openly and honestly – and there is precious little of that.

  4. What a great event and oh so much fun too! Kindness – we could go a little easier on others 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    How educational for young and old a like. I remember watching a Native American group preform when I was in elementary school when I was really young. I’d bet I was around the first grade.

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