Cultural events are the lifeblood of many communities. In Ottawa, residents’ quality of life is enhanced by a number of musical and cultural offerings, several of which occur this week.

A “Glorious Fourth” celebration begins 8 a.m. Thursday at the Old Depot Museum, 135 W. Tecumseh St., Ottawa, with a reading of the Declaration of Independence, group singing of patriotic songs and, just like in olden times, a territorial breakfast of apple-stack cakes with syrup, sausage, coffee and cider. The event is courtesy of the Franklin County Historical Society.

The city of Ottawa’s annual fireworks extravaganza at dusk is preceded by an 8 p.m. City Band concert at the base of the river levee near the Ottawa City Pool at Forest Park, 320 N. Locust St. The 51-member, 115-year old City Band has been entertaining crowds for more than a century, and the foot-tapping tunes just keep putting smiles on people’s faces. This year’s patriotic Independence program promises more of the same. All of this fun and entertainment is free courtesy of the many volunteer musicians who give for the love of music and community spirit. (The City Band concert series winds down 7:30 p.m. July 9 at City Park, Fifth and Main streets, Ottawa.)

This week’s fun doesn’t end on Thursday. The Suzuki Strings concert series concludes at 7 p.m. Friday at Ottawa University’s Fredrikson Chapel, 1011 S. Cedar St. The free concert features some of the best of the best with Brian Lewis’ Young Artist Program of young soloists playing alongside the Ottawa Chamber Symphony. The concert is indoors so the music can be enjoyed in air-conditioned comfort. The concerts are a pleasure to spectators’ ears, but it is great to see how rewarding the experiences are to students, too.

These cultural events only exist with the ongoing support of local community members. If we don’t support them, such events and the indirect amenities they offer could go away. In the case of Ottawa’s Suzuki Strings, the program could relocate to a larger community with a larger potential audience base.

It’s up to each of us to demonstrate that these events and organizations matter and represent a portion of our own “Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.” Attend and do your part to provide the encouragement organizers need to keep pushing forward for the next century and beyond.


— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher