BLOOMINGTON – Ivy Tech Community College’s Bloomington campus hosted a celebration of Alexander Hamilton’s birthday on Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. The celebration included a discussion of United States history, Hamilton’s influence, and how the musical, “Hamilton,” has changed the musical theatre landscape and made a cultural impact.
The celebration was organized and hosted by Ivy Tech as part of an Ivy Tech educational opportunity, “Facing Freedom,” which is a program funded by a grant through the Circle of Ivy. The grant allows four students the opportunity to visit New York City to see “Hamilton” on Broadway and visit landmarks in the city that symbolize freedom. In addition, students will participate and engage in local activities to examine and honor monumental historic events that changed freedom for so many.
“The Hamilton birthday celebration is an opportunity for students and the broader community to discuss topics ranging from freedom and advocacy to immigration and equity – all of which are relevant today,” said Ivy Tech Center for Lifelong Learning program manager Jordan Ferguson, who along with Ivy Tech Waldron assistant Trina Sterling, co-authored the “Facing Freedom” grant. “This event is a chance for us to learn from Hamilton, both the man and the production, and re-examine our own rights, privileges, and biases.”
Attended by Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton as well as Charlotte Zietlow, the event included discussions led by Kasandra Housley, Matt Herndon, and Donn Hall. Ivy Tech political science associate professor, Kasandra Housley, touched on American government and policy. Matt Herndon, local professional performing artist and fight choreographer, addressed how “Hamilton” has changed the musical theatre landscape and impacted us culturally, and Ivy Tech professor, Donn Hall provided insight on the historical elements of this chapter in American history.
The event included the opportunity to register to vote, a birthday cake prepared by the Ivy Tech Baking and Pastry academic program, as well as several songs from the Hamilton production performed by singer Rachel Holland and pianist Paul Pisano, members of the Bloomington Chamber Singers.