I was thinking about a tip for today and it hit me with the sparkling commotion of a roman candle – digital ways to celebrate America’s 236th birthday! So here are a collection of apps and links to help you celebrate the 4th of July with high-tech panache:
- Sousa Marches – not just any Sousa recordings, but original wax cylinder recordings ranging from 1895 to 1916. Fascinating, especially to hear the original tempos. Not surprising some of these recordings are pretty scratchy, but it’s a fascinating glimpse into American musical history by the King of Marches. Click here.
- UCSB Cylinder Recording Preservation Project - in the same vein, I’m fascinated by the idea of LISTENING to American history. The University of California-Santa Barbara has been engaged in a musical preservation project involving the digitization of the earliest audio recordings – mostly from Edison wax cylinders, with later recordings in 78 rpm format, made available here. The collection is large, growing and impressive – with a deep selection of early recordings not just from the U.S. but from across the globe, organized by nation of origin and type of recording. My favorite section is called “Home Recordings” – you can actually listen to common sounds of the day – parents, children, their pets and farm animals, oh my! Seriously, be careful with this – it’s easy to fritter away an entire otherwise billable day listening.
- Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks App (iPad) – a far cry from being there, but it was fun to watch last year.
- The American Revolution: Interactive (iPad) – I spent over an hour digging through this interactive story of the War for Independence. After all, it’s easy to lose site of the basis for the holiday merry-makings tomorrow – brave and resolute people fought to create our nation all those years ago, long before Weber grilled burgers hit the scene.
- The Declaration of Independence App (iPad) – I think that every parent should read the entire Declaration of Independence to their children every 4th. It’s stirring, dramatic, dangerous, bold, principled, eloquent and ultimately, told off the most powerful man in the Western world at the time – King George III. I get goosebumps every time I read it (and seeing the signatures of all those brave Patriots who risked life and limb for their beliefs)
- Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops – Stars and Stripes Forever – stirring. A must download. Crank it up!
Happy 236th Birthday America! Have a safe holiday everyone and teach your children about where our nation came from. If it takes an iPad to get their attention, so be it.
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