Historic approach at Independence Day sing-a-long

Modern performances with traditional style and feel
Published: Jul. 4, 2023 at 4:57 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Fourth of July often represents coming together as a people and putting our differences aside.

“There’s very few things that we can do in this country where we can all do it together and kind of agree on things and singing, and all singing together, is one of the best things I think,” said Daniel Schwandt, Lawrence University Organist, and Professor.

And that’s exactly the point of the Independence Day sing-a-long.

“We know that it’s become a cherished event by the community,” explained Nathan Birkholz, Lunchtime Organ Recital Series Coordinator.

Event organizers wanted to pick songs, hymns, poems, and portions of the Declaration of Independence that represent a diverse America and its history.

”We wanted to emphasize the kind of expansiveness of the American experience and it’s not simply just ‘rah rah rah America’ all the time,” noted Daniel Schwandt.

The sing-a-long is a special part of the lunchtime organ recital series.

“What’s special about this event is being able to share the instruments here at the chapel,” said Daniel Schwandt.

Notably, the chapel has two historic organs.

“The unique thing about the back organ at Lawrence is that it’s the oldest instrument, oldest functioning instrument, in Appleton and in the area,” said Schwandt.

And the instruments allow people to sing these patriotic songs the same way they’ve been heard for hundreds of years.

“Organ music is alive and well at Lawrence,” Schwandt stated.

The Independence Day sing-a-long is the only lunchtime organ recital series event where people can participate.