Lindsborg, the second city in McPherson county, enjoys the unique distinction of being the most musical town in America. The annual spring musical festivals, rendered by a chorus of five hundred and fifty voices and assisted by an orchestra of sixty-five pieces, have served to make Lindsborg more widely known than any other city of its size in America. The entire population in Lindsborg is musical; their efforts represent so much community spirit.
"The Messiah" has become the watchword of music lovers each year during Easter week, when thousands upon thousands flock to the most musical town to hear the immortal oratorio, the masterpiece of Handel. The annual renditions are a part of the religious and aesthetic life of the people of Lindsborg and its community. Thirty-five years have served not alone to increase the interest in the week of music and song, but to enchance the brilliancy of the renditions as well. It was the spirit of the chorus, the exacting work and the religious ferver that prompted Mme. Schumann-Heink to volunteer her services for a benefit song-recital that Lindsborg might increase the facilities for musical advancement among the people of Kansas.
The "Messiah Chorus" has been responsible for the bringing to Kansas and the West such world renowned musicians and organizations as Mme. Schumann-Heink, Mme. Nordica, Mm. Gadski, Mme. Claussen, Mme. Alice Nielson, Mme. Galli-Curci, Eugen Ysaye, the New York Symphony Orchestra, etc.
Lindsborg is also the home of Bethany College from which institution came the inspiration for musical development among the people. In the early eighties "school was kept" in a small frame building which in 1886 gave way to a six-story brick structure made necessary by the increased attendance, and from that year on the prairies of Kansas boasted proudly of a college.
The history of Bethany's origin, its early struggle and final successes are best described in the life of Dr. Carl Swenson. It was he, a man of vision and a man of dream, who conceived the gigantic task of giving to his people an opportunity for education and culture. Endowed physically and mentally, Dr. Swenson, the leader of the community, accomplished an herculean task despite many obstacles. From a small beginning he was privileged to see a college spring up and at the time of his early demise in 1904 the future of that institution was assured. Today Bethany College stands as a monument to the vision and energy of Dr. Carl Swensson, one of Kansas' remarkable men.
Early educational opportunities attracted home builders to Lindsborg. The city was not subjected to occasional spurts in advancement, only to recede with the tide. The people who came to Lindsborg were home-seekers and they found that which they sought - environment and opportunity. That spirit accounts for Lindsborg, a city of contented homes.
Commercial and industrial opportunities have not been neglected in the fertile agricultural Smoky Valley in formulating a scheme of civic and educational advancement. The city owns the light, water and sewer systems. Miles of curbings and gutters define the avenues and streets. The business houses, flour mills, industrial plants are large and modern. Three banks with more than a million on deposit indicate the trade possibilities. Lindsborg today offers rare prvileges and opportunities in commercial and industrial lines.
Transcribed from Official Souvenir McPherson County, July 4, 1917 [n.p., 1917] 56p. illus.
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