Varsity Song Revival
As part of Saint Louis University’s bicentennial celebration, SLU is reintroducing the University’s Varsity Song, reportedly last performed in the 1960s.
Dr. Aaron Johnson, D.M.A., assistant professor of music, has adapted the lyrics and arranged the music for four-part choral performance.
“To shed light on this history after so many years, it’s important to me. To be able to put my spin on it, my own thumbprint on it, is really an honor for me as a composer,” said Johnson.
Alfred G. Robyn (1860-1935), composer, organist and pianist, composed the music for the Alma Mater in 1909, the year he received an honorary degree from SLU. He was a prolific composer, credited with having written some 300 works, some of which were subsequently used in motion pictures in the mid-20th century. Mr. Robyn’s connection to SLU traces back to his father, a German immigrant, who was also a composer and musician and taught for several years at SLU.
The original lyrics were written by Paul L. Blakely, S.J. (1880-1943) Father Blakely entered the Society of Jesus in 1887 at St. Stanislaus Novitiate in Florissant. He completed his studies at SLU and was ordained in 1912. He was a professor of literature at SLU from 1906 to 1909 and later became the associate editor of America magazine.
“If you had someone of that caliber writing your school song, I imagine it would have been something that would have instilled that sense of pride in your school,” said Bradley Bailey, Ph.D., an associate professor of art history.
While the Mastersingers will perform the song at commencement this year, the hope is that the song will connect the SLU community at events for years to come.
“It’s one thing - it doesn’t matter what you study, what social groups you’re involved with - when you’re at an event that everyone else… It’s one thing that everyone can do together: sing the school song,” said Bailey.
Listen to the complete Varsity Song as performed by the Mastersingers.
Saint Louis University Alma Mater
Heirs of a royal name, Dear 'Varsity, For aye our faith and love We pledge to thee.
Guardian of truth and light We always knew, Thou, whom the years have crowned, Saint Louis U?
All hail, Saint Louis U! Valiant and strong Noble old 'Varsity Hark to our song;
Proudly our colors fly Brave White and Blue, Loud let the chorus swell, Saint Louis U!
Great is thy noble heart, Tender and true,
Show us thy loyalty Saint Louis U!
Bear we with pride and love Thy White and Blue, Sweet are thy memories, Saint Louis U!
Verse 3 Truth and nobility Thy halls enshrine, Guarding the hallow'd name Forever thine.
May we with heart and hand Through life renew Thy noble victories, Saint Louis U!