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Celebrate international community with singing

Children from Vietnam, China, India, Turkey, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Guatemala, Argentina and the United States are part of Songs of Hope. A concert is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Zumbrota's State Theatre. Photo courtesy of Crossings at Carnegie

ZUMBROTA — Songs of Hope, the 2017 concert tour resulting from a six-week youth performing arts project in St. Paul, stops in Zumbrota 7 p.m. Thursday, July 20. The free concert is at the State Theatre.

The young vocalists sing songs from their homelands mixed with U.S. songs chosen because together they offer hope and perfect entertainment for a warm summer's night. This year participating children are from Vietnam, China, India, Turkey, Italy, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Guatemala, Argentina and the United States.

Before the concert, children of all ages are invited to Zumbrota's East Park — just a few blocks from the theater — for "Games from Around the World" 4-5 p.m. This is an opportunity to learn games from other countries and share favorite games.

From 5-6 p.m., locals will serve hamburgers and veggie burgers, salads, lemonade and desserts. The public is welcome to the free picnic, where donations will be accepted.

The 90-minute concert begins at 7 p.m. Concert attendees will be served ice cream sandwiches.

On Friday morning, just before leaving Zumbrota for their next performance, the children will perform a mini-concert at Zumbrota Care Center.

The annual Songs of Hope concert tour has a reputation for lively, upbeat shows for all ages. In its 18 years of operation, Songs of Hope has touched the lives of hundreds of children and staff from around the globe.

The nonprofit Songs of Hope offers participants an opportunity to live in community with kids from other cultures while learning and performing music from many countries. Campers learn to look past prejudices, misconceptions and newspaper headlines as they live, sing and dance together. They practice six hours a day, six days a week for three weeks before taking songs of peace, love and respect into neighboring communities.

In 2017, the program is hosting 84 children.

These activities are made possible through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Crossings and the Zumbrota Area Arts Council are sponsoring the performance.

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