School fight songs, alma mater, etc.
Date: September 6, 2013
The collegial group singing traditions at my large high school have been allowed to die. It was no wonder really, the school's Alma Mater and Fight Song were atrociously written by amateurs in the 1960s when the school was built, and although they have a certain charm they were not conducive to have novices sing them. I used my over-priced composition education to fix the harmonies, voice leading and instrumental arrangements so they are now much more idiomatic and attractive, without drastically changing the melodies. But nobody knows these songs anymore, and I have set as one of my multi-year goals to get this school to sing their traditional songs once again. So I'm curious to know, from some of the teachers who are in schools that have strong group singing traditions, what kinds of things I can do to build these traditions back up again, and maintain them.
Here's what I'm doing this year: I'm teaching the songs to the choirs, who will be singing them at the big football games. I'm going to bring in each of the football teams (yes, that's right) into my choir room after school to teach the fight song to them (this used to be an annual tradition of one of my predecessors). I'm also teaching them to the cheerleading squad, who currently don't even know the lyrics to these songs. Also, I am having the teachers post the sheet music of these songs in their classrooms.
What else can I do to get this school singing in the bleachers again?
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