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Concert commemorates 135 year anniversary of tornado that ripped through Rochester

"A storm always devastates...but out of it often will arise something new."

Posted: Aug 22, 2018 10:06 AM
Updated: Aug 22, 2018 1:09 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - August 21 marks 135 years since a tornado ripped through the city.

It killed several and injured many people. It also plaed a pivotal role in the founding of Mayo Clinic.

The year was 1883 when a "disastrous cyclone" ripped through Rochester, leaving behind devastation. It killed 37 people and injured 200 others, the effects killing even more.

A concert titled: "Remembering the 1883 Tornado: Music of Hope and Healing," commemorates the day, 135 years later.

Guitarist Doug Hansen is remembering his great grandfather, Nels, who died after being seriously injured in the tornado.

It's a great grandfather he didn't know about, until he did some research in 2006. That led him to see that good can sometimes come from bad.

"I was kinda blown away by the fact to think that, 'wow, I had some sort of connection to Mayo Clinic,'" Doug Hansen said.

A push from the Franciscan Sisters led to the building of Saint Mary's Hospital. They helped care for those injured in the tornado, and wanted a place to do so.

"A storm always devastates, by the fact that it's a storm - life, property, hopes, dreams," Sister Tierney Truman, values council coordinator at Mayo Clinic, said, "but out of it often will arise something new."

A hospital is the type of place Hansen is now familiar with himself, as he's a music therapist in Traverse City, MI.

"The work I do now is play therapeutic music in hospitals and I play for suffering people all the time," Hansen said.

He gives people hope through the language he knows best.

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