Global Songs of Hope performance company returns to Chatfield on July 15

Keeping a longtime tradition going, the global Songs of Hope performance company will perform in Chatfield with a single, public concert at Potter Auditorium, in the Chatfield Center for the Arts, on Monday, July 15, at 7 p.m.

The award-winning Songs of Hope concert showcases the talents of young artists ranging in age from 9 to 21 coming to Minnesota for the summer from countries all across the globe, including Vietnam, China, Germany, Italy, England, Finland, Turkey, Jamaica, Guatemala and USA. Audiences of all ages are welcome to come enjoy a high-energy concert presented free of charge thanks to the generosity of the Songs of Hope sponsors.

The Songs of Hope concert tour takes place every summer and over the years, the project has earned a well-deserved reputation for lively, upbeat shows. The concert’s newest installment in 2019 promises to live up to this reputation. With close to 90 youth and adults on stage, the company will present a delightful mix of international music from all the countries of the performers. Mixed with the global music will be a wide variety of U.S. songs chosen to be perfect entertainment on a warm summer’s night.

“For the U.S. music, we’ve decided to put a couple of songs into the mix with timely messages,” said artistic director Jeanne Junge. “One of the themes we’re exploring is about a world grappling with issues of immigration and how to meet the needs of refugees in search of a better life.”

Program Director Tom Surprenant added, “There have always been refugees and immigrants in the United States, so this is not a new issue but suddenly it’s become a hot issue. And for us, it’s a personal issue. Over the years, we’ve had dozens of kids in Songs of Hope from refugee or new-immigrant families. There’s a long list of young people whom we’ve watched grow into hardworking, talented contributors to their cities and communities.”

Junge also said, “In Songs of Hope, we avoid politics but we do sing about the things that matter to our children.”

In addition to covering serious themes, Junge and Surprenant certainly plan to offer up some fun. “It’s summer, after all,” said Surprenant, “and this is a concert by kids for kids of all ages. We all know kids like to have fun, right? So don't be surprised to hear a song about ice cream or pies or potato chips.”

Songs of Hope is touring to cities throughout the state thanks to General Operating Support and an Arts Access Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board through a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

“We prefer going to cities with populations under 10,000. With Arts Board grants, we have a chance to show our global kids a good slice of Minnesota while sharing their music with local audiences,” Junge said. “In Chatfield, we really see a lot of the community, performing for kids in the summer ValleyLand Kids program, performing for seniors at Chosen Valley, swimming in the high school pool after the concert, and doing a little sightseeing.”

Surprenant said, “Many years ago, when we started looking for a partner in Chatfield, we were put in touch with Matt Opat who was on the board of the Chatfield Center for the Arts. Our first concert was in the old Potter Auditorium before it was refurbished and air-conditioned. I remember it was 102 degrees outside and nearly as hot inside but the space had great acoustics and the audience was warm and welcoming. We felt we had to come back and since that first show, Songs of Hope in Chatfield has become a regular event for us.”