Thumbs up to Home Free, the group founded by Mankato brothers Chris and Adam Rupp, who won the NBC “Sing Off” show that aired last week.
The group beat out a dozen others in the national a cappella competition with flawless performances throughout the competition.
The Rupps grew up singing and performing at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, where their mother, Cindy, is musical director.
Home Free started in 2000 and had a steady climb since, performing on cruise ships, for professional sports teams, at corporate events and a variety of other venues.
Their win gives them a recording contract and a $100,000 prize — and hopefully a growing success on the national stage.
Man’s empathy highlighted reconciliation
Thumbs up to Jacob Farmer who walked along with Dakota horse riders as they made their annual trek from South Dakota to Mankato to memorialize the 38 Dakota hanged in Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862.
Farmer, 78, a Mankato area farmer, hadn’t been steeped in Dakota history but last year he did some family research on his great-grandfather and found he had served in the military security detail during the hangings and had escorted Dakota prisoners out of Minnesota afterward.
The family history prompted Farmer to join in this year’s event and to walk — the same as the Dakota prisoners had to do when they were banished from the state.
It was a heartwarming gesture that provided deep emotional feelings for Farmer and for the Dakota, who gave him a blanket at Thursday’s ceremony to thank him for his participation.
Donors provide comfort to those in need
Thumbs up to everyone in the region who dropped some money in the Salvation Army kettle or participated in providing a gift to needy children through the Sharing Tree Program, Toys for Tots or other charitable efforts this holiday season.