An independent moment

Chautauqua has always been a uniquely American experiment. Independence Day has been celebrated nearly 150 times since Chautauqua’s beginnings in 1874, and each of those celebrations was unique to Chautauquans living an American experience shaped by their times. Throughout the most pivotal periods in our nation’s history, Chautauqua has played a part. Monday’s Independence Day celebrations featured familiar traditions of families and fireworks, community and celebration, but also a feeling for many Chautauquans that this Fourth of July — like all those before it — is uniquely shaped by the struggles of our time. As Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill said in his opening Three Taps of the Gavel address, these struggles “call this community of seekers and learners to take a breath, to pause to regain some perspective, but only for a moment, recognizing that our work is not to ponder for pondering’s sake but to recenter ourselves to make a difference in the world.”

  • Chautauquans watch fireworks on July 4, 2022 from the docks near the Miller Bell Tower. DYLAN TOWNSEND/ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • From left to right, cousins Scarlett Gatto, Olivia O’Brien, and Logan Klenck of Cleveland, Ohio play games before the Chautauqua Community Band concert begins July 4, 2022 in Bestor Plaza. JOELEEN HUBBARD/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • A number of Chautauquans kneel during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at the start of the Fourth of July Community Band Concert Monday on Bestor Plaza. The act was taken as a recognition of the injury caused to democracy by current political and cultural divisions. DAVE MUNCH/PHOTO EDITOR
  • Chautauquans gather to listen to the Community Band Concert in celebration of the Fourth of July on July 4, 2022 in Bestor Plaza. DYLAN TOWNSEND/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • A dog carries a flag in her mouth on July 4, 2022 near the amphitheater. SEAN SMITH/ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Chautauquans march to music played by the Community Band Concert in celebration of the Fourth of July on July 4, 2022 in Bestor Plaza. GEORGIA PRESSLEY/ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Led by Principal Pops Conductor Stuart Chafetz, and accompanied by soprano Dee Donasco, play during an Independence Day Celebration on July 4, 2022 in the Amphitheater. During the celebration, the orchestra performed various American classics. DYLAN TOWNSEND/ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
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