Champ’s Sports Bar & Grill, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is known to locals and tourists alike for their large beer garden, home to live outdoor concerts.
But one Sunday afternoon in late August, the bar patrons thought the good times might be over, after an unexpected visitor arrived—a police officer.
“First we were just wondering why he was here, if something went wrong that I didn’t know about,” Ian Gussarson, an employee at Champ’s, recalled to WISN.
“We thought he was here to shut down the good music,” the bar’s Facebook page read.
But it turns out, they had nothing to worry about.
The police weren’t there to shut down the party — on the contrary…
The police officer was Jonathan Landis, who was on foot patrol in the area when he passed the bar and heard the festive music coming from their courtyard.
But this wasn’t a noise complaint.
Everyone was surprised when the policeman approached the musicians—and asked if he could play with them! Officer Landis picked up a violin and was ready to join in.
“You don’t bump into a lot of police officers who play the violin,” Gussarson told WISN.
But the crowd was stunned by what happened next.
This officer came to play — and he’s amazing!
Landis isn’t only a cop. He’s a professionally-trained violinist, who’s been playing since he was three and studied music at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
He began his police career only this summer, but music will always be part of his life. He continues to practice and even teaches violin on the side.
So when he heard the music while on patrol, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to combine his two passions.
“This is like a dream come true, to be out here, to play my violin as a police officer,” he told WISN.
“It’s like I have both worlds.”
And it was perfect timing. It was also Landis’ 42nd birthday! It was like fate—a surprise gift for the police officer.
But it was also an unforgettable surprise for the audience, who showed up for live music, but expected nothing quite like this. Champ’s posted the video to their Facebook page, and the impromptu fiddle jam has currently been viewed over three million times.
“When it was all over, everyone was like, ‘Well, you don’t see that every day,'” Gussarson recalled to WISN.