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Notes for Hope aims to prevent tragedy
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Notes for Hope aims to prevent tragedy

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Notes for Hope aims to prevent tragedy

Notes for Hope will this year feature a worship service on Sunday morning during the two-day concert. It's being organized by Bismarck First Baptist Church music leader Casey Williams and Notes for Hope organizer and Scherff's Shirts sponsor Ralph Scherffius, and led by Pastor Bobby Upchurch of Providence Baptist Church of Bonne Terre.

Local musicians are tuning their instruments and checking their microphones in advance of the 6th Notes for Hope concert, set for Saturday and Sunday in Columbia Park in Park Hills. 

Notes for Hope is a local suicide awareness and prevention effort that was started by Keith and Tiffany Hafner of Park Hills in 2014. It’s a mission bringing musicians together to alert the public to the signs and symptoms of depressive thoughts and actions, and sharing resources that help prevent a tragic outcome. In addition to the Hafners, organizers include Brenden Dane, Ralph Scherffius and other friends.

The issue of suicide is unfortunately fresh for the Hafners. Keith lost his father, Brian, in March 2020. The last two concerts have been dedicated to his memory.

“We all go through our own issues, I guess,” Hafner said with regard to why he chose suicide awareness and prevention for the first Notes for Hope concert back in 2014. “I personally have experience with depression and music has always been an outlet, so essentially I just wanted to bring those things together and help other people, if I could.”

Hafner said the concerts in previous years benefitted out-of-state organizations dedicated to prevention and awareness of suicide, but this year, they’re going local.

Notes for Hope aims to prevent tragedy

Keith Hafner from the band Down Swinging plays the Columbia Park stage in 2020. He started the annual concert in 2014 with his wife, Tiffany.

“The first concert we did was for To Write Love on Her Arms (based in Florida), which was a really big movement then, it was the biggest organization I knew that helped bring awareness to suicide. And then I found Hope for the Day based in Chicago, and I worked with them every year after that,” Hafner said. “Ralph worked with a school for a while and he's like, 'What if there's an organization that works more in the community, maybe we could go that way.' Those other organizations do great things, but we wanted to keep it in the community, where people are directly affected."

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This year it will benefit Presbyterian Children's Home and Services.

The concerts begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday and feature bands such as At My Worst, Grip Slime, An Unfortunate Trend, Atlas on Fire, The Stars Go Out, and The Cinema Story.

On Sunday, a Sunday morning service will be led by Pastor Bobby Upchurch of Providence Baptist Church of Bonne Terre, and will begin at 11 a.m. in Columbia Park. More on the service can be learned from the "Notes for Hope 6 - Morning Worship" video on YouTube. 

Notes for Hope aims to prevent tragedy

The band, The Stars Go Out, takes the Columbia Park stage in Park Hills during the 2020 Notes for Hope concert to raise awareness and prevention of suicide.

The concert starts up again Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. and will feature Hours to Midnight, The Lone Wonders, Shots Fired, Greddo, Endurance, The Outlaws, Marisa Dawn, Brandon Scherffius, Thomas Kennedy, The Party Crashers, Down Swinging, and Darling Skye.

Food trucks will be on hand on both days. The lineups offer a variety of styles, Hafner said.

“So the first night is the shorter one, that's more of a rock night. And then we've got real diverse acts on Sunday, so we got, like, acoustic acts. There's a couple rappers. And then I think we've got some country-ish leaning stuff,” he said. “It's pretty, pretty diverse. Some are local, and there's a lot of St. Louis bands. They've just been playing (this concert) over the years, or just became, you know, like band friends over the years.”

The concerts are being presented with help from Scherff’s Shirts & Designs of Bismarck, and Marler’s Music Store of Park Hills.

Last week marked National Suicide Prevention Week. 

Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at shaas@dailyjournalonline.com.

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