After witnessing the American flag flying resolutely over Fort McHenry which sustained 25 hours of continuous bombardment by the British, Francis Scott Key was inspired to put pen to paper. He composed a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry” which was quickly published and set to the tune of a popular song. The year was 1814, though it wouldn’t be until 1931 that a standardized version was adopted as our national anthem.
Less than 40 years later, in 1970, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young recorded “Find The Cost of Freedom,” a song composed by Stephen Stills after visiting a Civil War battle site. Both songs come from eras entirely different than our own. The world has changed dramatically and so has the way we engage in conflict, yet these songs are just as relevant now as the day they were written. They’re also being performed by a new generation of emerging musicians.
More than 200 Lincoln High School and Swift Creek Middle School students took part in a Veterans Day concert at Cascades Park and hundreds of music lovers filled the seats of the amphitheater. In the audience were veterans and their family members who were treated to patriotic standards performed by the schools’ various bands and choirs.
Those ensembles were led by choral directors Scott Leaman of Lincoln and Jenilee Hallam of Swift Creek as well as band directors Daniel Rosman of Lincoln and Kelly Behnke of Swift Creek.
Swift Creek has been offering this concert to the community for the past six years. When the event outgrew its original venue two years ago, the Swift Creek organizers decided to move to Cascades Park. “We got this great idea to add in Lincoln,” said Behnke. “Swift Creek is a direct feeder to Lincoln so it was an opportunity to help retention to the choral and band programs but also to have a great experience to play the music together.”
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