University to Stage Show Celebrating Heritage
Catholic University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music will be showing off its talents this upcoming Sunday, February 12, with a new concert ‘Songs of Old CUA,’ a nostalgic musical review celebrating CUA’s 125th anniversary. The entire University community is encouraged to join the musicians, who will be performing in the main ballroom of the Edward J. Pryzbyla Center – including those with nostalgia towards the University’s past, and those who are curious to hear a revival of history – for the 75 minute performance beginning at 3 p.m.
“So much talent, energy, and time have come into this, and so many students, faculty, staff, and alumni have participated in this, that it’s really going to be something memorable,” said Andrew Simpson Ordinary, professor at the music school.
Featured songs to be played by the musicians will be the University fight song, drinking song, and march – songs which hold an important part in the history of the University, and are rarely heard today.
Not all of the musical arrangements to be performed at the revue are unheard of, or waiting to be glorified once more: Catholic University’s official song, and perhaps the most important in the University’s repertoire, our Alma Mater – ‘Guardian of Truth’ – written by the Reverend Thomas J. McLean in 1920, played at the beginning of each academic year and all major University functions, shall be performed, accompanied by two new arrangements written by Andrew Simpson, to be performed for the first time on Sunday.
Although students have heard the Alma Mater numerous times, not many know how it came to be. According to the University Archives – which can be accessed online – the University’s Alma Mater came about through a school-wide contest that encouraged students to write a much-needed song for the maturing Catholic University. “Guardian of Truth” placed second, but due to popularity among students and administration, McLean’s composition was chosen over the top finalists, and its tune has resonated in these halls of academia ever since.
In addition to the historic melodies that will be performed at Sunday’s event, never-before-seen University photographs, audio recordings, and short motion pictures, a wide variety of University culture, will be presented to onlookers at the performance.
In celebration of the 125th anniversary, the CU Swing Club will be giving dance lessons following the concert, ending with a swing-dance competition, where prizes will be awarded to the best dancers. Furthermore, for all who are over the age of twenty-one, the University will be serving ‘Flying Cardinal Highballs,’ a new cocktail created in honor of the event, to accompany the school’s drinking song – ‘Drink a Highball at Nightfall.’
“It’s a staged show, not a concert,” said Simpson. “There will be dancing and singing throughout, lighting, costumes, and props, and the audience will see photographs and silent films of football games and other events from CUA’s past projected behind the stage. It’s a multimedia tour through CUA history.”
Due to the efforts of many at the Music School, especially Music Librarian Maurice Saylor, and Music Library Technician Rachael Barham, many of these “lost” songs have been uncovered from the realms of the University archives– ready to be heard once again by the members of Catholic University—“…the light that never dies.”
This revue is open to the public at no cost, but registration is appreciated. More information may be obtained online at www.cuatoday.com, or by contacting Katie Lee in the Office of Public Affairs at 1-(202)-319-5600.