It’s the 4th of July! This is a time to celebrate our country… and MUSIC and ART are such an important parts of the celebration.
How about having a parade? My most recent took place in a swimming pool… with a swim noodle serving as my drum major’s baton! As we sang the tune of one of John Phillip Sousa’s best marches, “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” we marched through the water. Fun? Absolutely! To make it last, we’ll take in a 4th of July parade, complete with exciting marching bands!
Singing any of our many patriotic songs provides an opportunity to reflect on some of our nation’s history. Read The Star-Spangled Banner, a beautiful book illustrated by the great Peter Spier, to build understanding of the song’s words through his detailed color images. Sing familiar songs such as Yankee Doodle, America (My Country Tis of Thee), You’re a Grand Old Flag, Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land, and Irving Berlin’s God Bless America. (Don’t remember these? Remind yourself through a quick computer search!) Some of these songs may conjure up memories of your own experiences in singing or hearing these songs at important moments in our history. Share your own stories with your favorite children!
Art works depicting traditional scenes from 4th of July celebrations is abundant. Artist Allan Rehan Crite (1910-2007) was interested in chronicling urban life. This scene, Parade on Hammond St. 1935, shows the family and community togetherness engendered by the parade. Jasper Johns (b. 1930), considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, created many versions of the American Flag. Childe Hassam (1859-1935) was a prolific American Impressionist painter. One of my favorites is this image of July 4, 1916. Many artists have captured moments in history. This image by Percy Moran (American, 1862-1935) depicts Betsy Ross showing the American flag that she created. The Birth of Old Glory can be the basis for much discussion of the evolution of our flag.
When it comes to iconic symbols of our country, perhaps none stand out more than the Statue of Liberty. This array of images provides stimulus for the idea that art takes many forms (2D and 3D, for example) and can utilize a wide variety of materials (e.g. wood, metal, cardboard, and bottle caps.) Images: Malcah Zeldis, Miss Liberty Celebration, 1987; Rhonda Kuhlman and Chris Ake, Miss Liberty, 2002; Rev. J. L. Hunter, Six Statues of Liberty, 1985-1990; Andy Warhol, Statue of Liberty, 1963.
So, grab a flag and have a parade! Perhaps you’ll create your own Statue of Liberty or Liberty Bell to stand alongside the parade route.
Happy Birthday, America!
Mary and Susan
Mary and Susan