Kārlis Baumanis and “Dievs, svētī Latviju!”


Kārlis Baumanis (May 11, 1835 –January 10, 1905), better known as Baumaņu Kārlis, was an ethnic Latvian composer in the Russian Empire, who was the author of the lyrics and music of Dievs, svētī Latviju! (“God bless Latvia!”), the national anthem of Latvia. Baumanis was born on May 11, 1835, in Viļķene (Wilkenhof), Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire.  He lived and worked in Limbaži (Lemsal) as a teacher and a journalist. An important milestone in his life was his election as the Speaker of the Riga Latvian Society and a Member of the Singing Commission in 1870, where he participated in the preparation of the First General Latvian Singing Festival. That same year he married Marija Carolini Elizabeth, who was the daughter of Ferdinand von Vite, tenant of Sāra manor, and a German teacher at the prestigious Smolny Institute of Exotic Nursery.

In 1871, Baumanis completed the composition studies with the Czech musician Voiceha Hlavach. On November 14, 1872, his daughter, Lilia Elizabeth, was born. In 1873, he created what was to become the Latvian national anthem “God bless Latvia,” writing both music and lyrics.  Baumanis was the first composer to use the word “Latvia” in the lyrics of a song, in the 19th century, when Latvia was still a part of the Russian Empire. It has been speculated that Baumanis, who was part of the Young Latvian nationalist movement, may have borrowed part of the lyrics from a popular song which was sung to tune of God Save the Queen, modified them and set them to music of his own. Baumanis’s lyrics were different from the modern ones: he used the term “Baltics” synonymously and interchangeably with “Latvia” and “Latvians,” so “Latvia” was actually mentioned only at the beginning of the first verse.

In 1873, Baumanis was rewarded for his success in pedagogical work by the Holy Spirit Anna’s Order.  He died on January 10, 1905, in Limbaži, Latvia, at the age of 69. During the annexation of Latvia by the Soviet Union, the singing of “Dievs, svētī Latviju!” was banned. The term “Latvia” was removed and replaced with “Baltics” to avoid the ban on the song. This has led to the mistaken notion that the term “Latvia” was not part of the song until 1920, when it was chosen as national anthem and the word “Baltics” was replaced with “Latvia”.

The Soviet republic of Latvia had its own anthem.  “Dievs, svētī Latviju!” was restored as the state anthem of Latvia on February 15, 1990, a very short period before Latvian independence was proclaimed.  The anthem’s tune was modernized with a new F major version that is used since 2014.  Formerly a G major version was used on LTV’s sign-on and sign-offs daily from 2011 up to 2013.

The following work by Kārlis Baumanis is contained in my collection:

Dievs, sveti Latviju! (Latvia)

Old Honey Creek School, Beloit, KS



Old Honey Creek School

U.S. Highway 24

Beloit, Kansas  67420

Dating back to the 19th Century, this structure is located on the north side of Beloit, KS, along U.S. Highway 24.  It was established in 1874 and restored as a Bicentennial project of Mitchell County in 1976 to preserve the tradition of the little red school house in the land of Post Rock Country.  The little red schoolhouse might not have held very many pupils – but they were of all ages. How does a teacher manage in a one room school teaching kindergarten thru 9th grade (or whatever) – all simultaneously? One child has to be taught letters, another child has to be helped to understand the Canterbury Tales. It must have been an interesting experience to juggle so many things at once.

Perucho Figueredo and “La Bayamese”


Pedro Felipe “Perucho” Figueredo (February 18, 1818–August 17, 1870) was a Cuban poet, musician, and freedom fighter of the nineteenth century.   Born on February 18, 1818, in Bayamo, Cuba, Figueredo was mostly known as Perucho.  In the 1860s, he was active in the planning of the Cuban uprising against the Spanish known as the Ten Years’ War. He composed the melody, called La Bayamesa (English: The Bayamo Song), for what would become the Cuban national anthem, El Himno de Bayamo, in 1867.  It was first heard during the Battle of Bayamo in 1868.

On October 10, 1868, the Cuban forces obtained the capitulation of the Spaniard authorities in Bayamo.  Figueredo’s daughter Candelaria became a hero of the uprising by carrying the new independent Cuban flag into the battle.  The jubilant people surrounded Figueredo, who took part in the battle, and asked him to write an anthem with the melody they were humming. Right on the saddle of his horse, Figueredo wrote the lyrics of the anthem, which was longer than the current official version.

Figueredo was later captured during the war and executed by the Spaniards two years later on August 17, 1870, at Santiago, Cuba.  Just before the firing squad received the Fire command, Figueredo shouted the line from his anthem: “Morir por la Patria es vivir” (“To die for one’s country is to live”).  It was officially adopted in 1902 as the national anthem of Cuba with the title El Himno de Bayamo (The Bayamo Anthem), Originally, the song had six stanzas. The last four stanzas were removed in 1902 because the lyrics hurt the pride of the Spanish. Also, the section was too long compared to the other stanzas.

In addition to the Himno de Bayamo, there are two other well-known Cuban songs called La Bayamesa. The first Bayamesa was composed in 1851 by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and José Fornaris at the request of their friend Francisco Castillo Moreno, who is sometimes also credited with the lyrics. After 1868, during the Cuban war, a “mambí” version of this La Bayamesa became popular. It has the same melody but different lyrics.

Many years later, in 1918, the composer and trovador Sindo Garay, from Santiago de Cuba, composed a song that he called Mujer Bayamesa; popular usage shortened the title to La Bayamesa.  The Cuban composer Antonio Rodriguez-Ferrer, was the composer of the musical introductory notes to the Cuban national anthem.  The anthem was retained after the revolution of 1959.

My collection includes the following work by Perucho Figueredo:

La Bayamese (Cuba)

Deep Creek schoolhouse, Manhattan, KS



Deep Creek schoolhouse

Deep Creek Road

Manhattan, Kansas

The Deep Creek school house sits along Deep Creek Rd. between its junction with I-70 and KS 177 in Riley County, Kansas. The drive through this Flint Hills valley is just beautiful.  Built in 1892 when Riley County began developing and many towns were flourishing in the area, Deep Creek School House is now a meeting place for local community groups and stands as a monument to the settlers who came to the Deep Creek area. Two other schools preceded this one. The first was a six sided log cabin which was built about 1 mile to the east in 1860. In 1870, a frame school house was built about half a mile to the west.

The von Trapp Traditions: Music and Homeschooling

The von Trapp Traditions: Music and Homeschooling
by William Anderson

(Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Winter 2010-11 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families.)

The Sound of Music, the 1965 movie based on the lives of Austria’s von Trapp family, is perhaps the best-loved family film ever made. Themes of patriotism, devotion to God, and love of family pervade the movie from opening scenes in the Alps to closing notes of “Climb Every Mountain.”

An overlooked aspect of The Sound of Music is the Von Trapp family’s homeschooling tradition. So far, no lists of renowned homeschoolers include the singing siblings. No printed T-shirts at homeschool conferences bear the von Trapp name, along with those of Lincoln, Edison, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Nevertheless, generations of Von Trapps have been taught at home, and it’s an ongoing process for current family members.

Read more:


Oreste Sindici and the Himno Nacional de la Republica de Columbia


Oreste Sindici (May 31, 1828 – January 12, 1904) was an Italian-born Colombian musician and composer who composed the music for the Colombian national anthem in 1887.  Sindici  was born on May 31, 1828, in Ceccano, Province of Frosinone, Italy, and studied in the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia at Rome.   He arrived in Bogotá, Colombia, in 1863 as a singer with an opera company and lived and worked as a musician in Colombia until his death.

In 1887 José Domingo Torres, an actor from Bogotá, took a poem written by former Colombian president Rafael Núñez and asked his opera singer friend Sindici, to set it to music. Commonly known by its first line, ” Oh unbroken glory! ” (or “O Unfading Glory” ), the song was released on November 11, 1887, in commemoration of the Independence of Cartagena de Indias.  Sindici died in Bogotá, Colombia, on January 12, 1904, due to severe arteriosclerosis.

On October 28, 1920, this song became the de facto “National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia ” ( Spanish : Himno Nacional de la Republica de Columbia). in the form of Act 33.  During the border conflict with Peru (1932-1934), the soldiers who defended Colombia’s national sovereignty added a section to the anthem after the trumpet fanfare. Written specifically for that time of war, the addition   soon fell into disuse.  In 1937 the Colombian government honored Sindici’s memory. The song officially  became the Colombian national anthem with the law 198 of 1995, which legislates national symbols,  Its broadcast became mandatory for all radio and television in the country both at 6:00 am and at 6:00 pm as well as public addresses of the President of the Republic and other official events.

The anthem should be played chorus-verse-chorus.  The first verse is usually between the choruses.  This is how it is customarily performed in all public, political, and other important events both public and private.  However, it is not uncommon for only the chorus to be played without repeating.. This is usually the case when brevity is sought. The shorter anthem is also used at international events such as the Olympic Games or World Cup.  In ceremonies of the Colombian Artillery, the last verse is used instead of the first verse.  The Colombian Cavalry traditionally uses the sixth verse, while the four th verse is used by the Colombian Navy.

The following work by Oreste Sindici is contained in my collection:

Himno Nacional de la Republica de Columbia (Columbia)

Nanking Mills School, Livonia, MI


Nankin Mills

Nanking Mills School

Greenmead Historical Park

20501 Newburgh Rd.

Livonia, MI 48152

The historic farmsite known as Greenmead was purchased by the City of Livonia in 1976.  It serves as a legacy of Michigan’s agricultural heritage as well as a multi-faceted recreational and cultural facility hosting a number of major special events each year.  This 95-acre parksite was the 1820’s homestead of Michigan pioneer, Joshua Simmons.  It includes the original farm complex, Historical Village, picnic facilities and recreational areas.  The Historical Village at Greenmead was established to protect and preserve several locally significant structures that would have been lost to development at their original locations.   The farm complex features an 1841 Greek Revival farmhouse and its outbuildings and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The farm maintains its unique architectural character and is significant in that nine of its eleven original outbuildings are still intact.  Built in 1829, the North Barn was the first barn built in Livonia Township.  The Simmons family lived in a modest frame house, while the barn, a building of primary importance, was the first major structure completed.  Together, the buildings tell the story of farm life in rural Michigan.  In 1920, Sherwin Hill, a prominent Detroit attorney purchased the farm and raised dairy cattle until his death in 1961.

The Nankin Mills School was built in 1937 for the children of the workers at Henry Ford’s Nankin Mills factory.  The school had a large classroom, activity room, two hallways, and a machine shop downstairs.  It also had indirect lighting, plastered walls, eggshell colored woodwork, and pine flooring.  The Livonia Public Schools acquired the property in 1969 and the school was used until 1982.  In January of 2015, the donation of the school to the City of Livonia was accepted and preparations to move the building to Greenmead Historical Park began.  The Livonia Historical Commission held many fundraisers throughout the year at Greenmead Historical Park, which raised the funding to pay for moving the school. The community’s support at these events made this possible.   On Tuesday, October 25, 2016, the school was moved over a nine-hour period from the corner of Farmington Road and Ann Arbor Trail to Greenmead via Joy, Inkster, Seven Mile, and Newburgh Roads.  Foundation and basement work was completed in December. The school house was moved to its final location on July 20, 2017.  Its new home is on the west side of the Kingsley House.

René Djam Afame and “O Cameroon”


René Djam Afame (1910-1981) was a Cameroonian composer who wrote what later became the national anthem of Cameroon.  Born in 1910 in Cameroon, West Africa, Afame composed a song beginning “O Cameroun, Berceau de nos Ancetres” (O Cameroon, Cradle of Our Forefathers) in 1928.  He provided the music with help from Samuel Miniko Bamba and Moïse Nyatte Nko’o.  Afame also wrote the original lyrics along with Nko’o (French version) and Bernard Nsokika Fonlon (English).   The French and English lyrics differ.   Also known as “Chant de Ralliement” (“The Rallying Song”), it was used on an unofficial basis beginning in 1948 before independence, and officially adopted in 1957. The lyrics were changed in 1978.  Afame died in 1981.

My collection includes the following work by René Djam Afame:

O Cameroon (Cameroon)

Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson and “Ó, Guð vors lands”


Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson (June 28, 1847–February 23, 1927) was an Icelandic composer best known for composing “Lofsöngur,” the national anthem of Iceland.  Sveinbjörn was born on June 28, 1847,  in Seltjarnarnes, Iceland.  He was studying divinity when he met a young Norwegian violinist and composer, Johan Svendsen. At the time, Svendsen had just finished his studies in Leipzig and encouraged Sveinbjörn to go and study music, either in Leipzig or Copenhagen. Sveinbjörn went to Copenhagen, Denmark, but later carried on to Leipzig, Germany, where his teacher was Carl Reinecke. Consequently, Sveinbjörn gained a far higher level of musical education than other musicians in Iceland at that time.

As the musical opportunities were limited in Iceland at the end of the 19th century, Sveinbjörn, who was the first person from his homeland to pursue an international career as a composer, moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, during the early 1870s. Sveinbjörnsson wrote the music for Lofsöngur (lit. “Hymn”), also known as “Ó Guð vors lands” (English: “O, God of Our Land”),  inside a town house located in Edinburgh’s New Town in 1874.  The lyrical portion of it was penned by Matthías Jochumsson, one of the best loved poets in the country, who was also a minister.  Although the commemorative plaque in Edinburgh purports that both the music and lyrics were written there, it is nowadays believed that Jochumsson had in fact produced the latter back in his homeland.

The song was written to coincide with the 1874 festivities in honor of one millennium since the Norse first arrived on the island.  It is for this reason that the full translation of the anthem’s title is “The Millennial Hymn of Iceland.”   The song was first played on August 2 of that year, at a service celebrated at Reykjavík Cathedral to commemorate the milestone, with the King of Denmark (and hence, the King of Iceland) – Christian IX – in attendance. Sveinbjörnsson ‘s composition pieces were mostly melody songs or poetical chamber music in the spirit of Mendelssohn, such as Piano Trios, a Violin Sonata in F major, Idyl in A flat major, Vikivaki in B minor, Lyric Pieces Nos. 1–4 for Piano, and Barcarolle in F major. Sveinbjörn also composed a considerable number of folk songs.

By 1922, “Lofsöngur” became so well known and loved throughout Iceland that, in recognition of this, the Icelandic parliament Althing endowed Sveinbjörnsson with a state pension, which allowed him to return to Iceland..  He was the first composer in the country to be conferred such an honor. Much like Sveinbjörnsson, Jochumsson became the first Icelandic poet to be given a state pension. The Althing also bestowed on him the title of “National Poet.” Sveinbjörnsson died in Copenhagen on February 23, 1927.  “Lofsöngur” was officially adopted as the country’s national anthem in 1944, when Icelanders voted in a referendum to end their state’s personal union with Denmark and become an independent republic.

The following work by Sveinbjörn Sveinbjörnsson is contained in my collection:

Ó, Guð vors lands (Iceland)