Kenneth Freed, music director, Mankato Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Travis Anderson

Music and tragic episodes in history come together this weekend in Mankato.

At a concert Sunday afternoon, the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, an 80-piece ensemble, will perform music of composers Stephen Paulus ("To Be Certain of the Dawn") and Michael Daugherty (“Trail of Tears”).

The Daugherty piece was inspired by the 1838-39 forced removal of American Indians from their southeastern U.S. homelands. Paulus' oratorio is based on photographs taken during the Holocaust, some of which will be projected during the performance.

Kenneth Freed, music director (and a violist with the Minnesota Orchestra) will conduct the concert (3 p.m. Sunday at Mankato West High School Auditorium). Guest artists at the concert include Mankato State University Concert Choir; Musicorum; Mankato Children’s Chorus Concert Choir; Minnesota Chorale; Angela Mortellaro, soprano; Abigail Fischer, mezzo soprano; Brad Benoit, tenor; Kimm Julian, baritone; and Jill Mahr, flute.

Concert tickets are $25 for adults. 507-387-1008 or

Mankato State University is hosting a related panel discussion on Friday (noon-2 p.m. at the Centennial Student Union) that is intended to bring attention to the U.S.-Dakota War, and the hangings of Native Americans that occurred in Mankato in 1862. Panelists will include: Kenneth Freed, Mankato Symphony Orchestra music director; Dave Larsen (Mdewakanton Dakota), former tribal chairman of Lower Sioux Indian Community, and former director of American Indian Affairs at MNSU/Mankato; Father Michael O’Connell, co-commissioner of “To Be Certain of the Dawn”; Rabbi Joseph Edelheit,co-commissioner of “To Be Certain of the Dawn”; and Annamarie Hill-Kleinhans (Red Lake Ojibwe), Minnesota Indian Affairs executive director. 

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