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School fight songs, alma mater, etc.

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?
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on September 7, 2013 5:28am
If your school has in-school gatherings of students, encourage your administrators to allow your group(s) to sing them at the opening, right after the pledge of allegiance.
Realize that Jehovah Witness students and their parents will NEVER acquiese to singing these songs, nor say the pledge, or sing a national anthem due to their teachings and beliefs.
on September 7, 2013 10:35am
Hi Bruce:
Our school, like many around the country, has a daily school news show on the Channel One televisions that everyone watches in homeroom. At the beginning and end of each broadcast is either a band or a chorus rendition of the school alma mater. The principal encourages everyone to listen to it, learn it, and sing along whenever it is played/sung at a school event, with some success. You might try that.
Tom Seniow
on September 7, 2013 7:48pm
At my school growing up,  it was the tradition that early in the school year, the Freshmen in the chorus had to perform the alma mater (by memory) for the upperclassmen in the chorus.  I don't know if this would today cross any hazing laws but I would think not - it was very harmless.  The freshmen would all be a little nervous and study it for the week approaching the performance and the upperclassmen would feel smug and superior.  Then after the performance there would be much cheering and whooping and everyone would sing it together once more.  It sort of added to the tradition and pride of the song.
Jess Bowen
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 8, 2013 7:51pm
Hi Bruce,
As far as I can read from yours and other's posts in the answers, there is one glaring(IMHO) omission in the gathering of those whom you wish to teach the school songs.  I am talking about the Coaches!!!  You should make their attendance Mandatory!!!  It was my experience that the Head Football Coach(who was the major pusher of the idea in the first place, i.e., Alma Mater and Fight Songs sung at games and pep assemblies) became the # 1 cheerleader and motivator to the troops, and by golly, he did an outstanding job!  He was one of the most enthusiastic people I had ever worked with!  Matter of fact, I always wanted him to come and visit my classroom and pump up my choirs, but sadly the plan never materialized.  He even came and sang a solo at one of our concerts!  What a guy he was!!!   Anyway, everything you're doing is pointing to a tremendous success, but don't forget the coaches!!!  They'll love you for it!!  Watch for them at your concerts-you'll see!  Especially if you have some of their players in your groups.  I surely do wish all the best in this, and I would love to hear how it all comes out!!  Pete
on September 9, 2013 7:57am
In a couple of schools where I've taught, the football team would have a huddle on the field after each game, concluded by singing the alma mater, led by the band.  It was requested by the kids, but as band director, we liked it; the band had to stay in the stands, so we had time to make an announcement or two, and to remind them to get all their stuff.
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