Wisconsin has been home to Lithuanians since the first farming immigrants came in the 19th ct. Old World Wisconsin lists a Lithuanian homestead on its map. Lithuanian immigration is described as “waves”. The first wave came 1890-1920, to work in factories in Racine, Kenosha, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee Counties. The second wave was the refugees of WWII, professionals and intellectuals, who settled in metropolitan areas. The third wave is the current immigrant group, free to travel after the restoration of Lithuanian independence in 1990. Although some come to work temporarily and then return to Lithuania, the majority have come to study, work, establish residence and become U.S. citizens. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers, geneticists, accountants, therapists, and other professional people. Although fully assimilated and Americanized, they are still proud of their Lithuanian heritage and maintain Lithuanian traditions. One of these traditions is the commemoration of the proclamation of independence of Lithuania on Feb. 16, 1918. As 2018 marks the centennial of that auspicious date, Lithuanians in Madison, under the sponsorship of Madison Vilnius Sister Cities, will present a concert of a recently created cantata, The Singing Revolution, a musical portrayal of the restoration of that independence.
A choir of approximately 40 voices will perform the beautiful Singing Revolution Cantata, first heard at the 2015 Dainu Svente in Chicago. A reception will follow in the Senate Parlor with an opportunity to meet the composer of the cantata, Kestutis Daugirdas.