Thursday, September 14, 2017

#TBT in the Archives 9/14/17: Class songs

Hearing the opening notes of the Alma Mater never fails to inspire a twinge in the heart of proud students of Shippensburg University. The simple refrain and melody recall crisp fall days, favorite classes, parties, and football games.

Many students can even recall their high school alma maters, and grad students can probably sing the opening lines of their undergraduate anthems.

Shippensburg University's Alma Mater

In addition to the Alma Mater familiar to students today, past Shippensburg alumni composed special "Class Songs" to celebrate their time in the Cumberland Valley. Alumni enjoyed sharing these songs with each other both during their time as students and during reunions years later.

The Cumberland Valley State Normal School's Class of 1877 had both a "Class Song" and a "Tree Song" composed for their graduation.

Many of the historical lyrics expressed sadness that the class was about to graduate and expressed hope classmates would meet again.

Class of 1892 class song

The class of 1893 included their class song in their Class Day gathering during Commencement Week.

Class of 1893 Class Day program with class song.

Sometimes, class songwriters went so far as to write out the musical notation for the melody so classmates could play it at home for years to come.

Class of 1918 class song

And lest Cumberland Valley songsters felt limited to nostalgic lyrics mourning the end of classes, various other songs could be heard on campus especially during athletic games. Programs for homecoming games in the 1920s included a variety of yells and chants for fans to yell during the game.

School yells and songs from the 1925 homecoming football game.

Class Files, Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections, Shippensburg, PA.
Commencement programs, Record Group 4, Sub-group 1, Series 5, Shippensburg University Archives & Special Collections, Shippensburg, PA.

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