The Good Old Song as published in Songs of the University of Virginia (1905)

The Good Old Song is the de facto alma mater of the University of Virginia. It is set to the music of Auld Lang Syne.The song is often said to be the University's fight song, but the actual fight song is the Cavalier Song.

History and authorship[edit | edit source]

Various sources, including the Cavalier Marching Band, ascribe the authorship of the Good Old Song to Virginia Glee Club member[1] Edward A. Craighill on or about 1895,[2] even though Craighill's 1922 article on the song disclaims sole authorship.[3] The best documentary evidence to date indicates that the song's lyrics were more or less spontaneously composed by a group of students in 1893, and that by 1894 the song was already being documented in the student annual, Corks and Curls.[4]

Though "The Good Old Song" was the de facto alma mater by 1900, it has never been made an official song of the University. Other songs have been given official status by student vote over the years--"Virginia, Hail, All Hail!" and "The Cavalier Song" won a 1923 contest sponsored by College Topics and were named the University's alma mater song and fight song, respectively--but remain relatively unknown among the general student body.[5] According to the Virginia Pep Band, the University's band from 1974 to 2003, the University's Athletic's Department attempted to replace the Good Old Song with a more lively post-touchdown song during the 1970s. They relate that the students of the Pep Band refused to abandon the song in spite of the orders, and it is thus still played today. [6]

Modern performance and controversy[edit | edit source]

The song can most often be heard at football games immediately following each Cavalier score (or the extra point attempt). Virginia alumni and fans join hands or embrace as they sway back and forth singing the first verse of the song followed by pumping fists to the chant. It is reserved for celebrating the success of a score and is never sung during play, merely as a cheer.

Over the past thirty years, it has become a practice of some fans to chant "Not gay!" after the line "Where all is bright and gay," in what has been described as a homophobic act. Beginning in 2001, there have been petitions and organized protests against the practice,[7] with limited success.[8]

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Verse 1
That good old song of Wah-hoo-wah--we'll sing it o'er and o'er
It cheers our hearts and warms our blood to hear them shout and roar
We come from old Virginia, where all is bright and gay
Let's all join hands and give a yell for the dear old UVa.
Hoo-rah-ray, hoo-rah-ray, ray, ray--U-Va!
Verse 2 [9]
What though the tide of years may roll, and drift us far apart
For alma mater still there'll be a place in every heart.
In college days we sing her praise, and so, when far away,
In memory we still shall be at the dear old U-Va.
Verse 3 [10]
And when from out life's struggle we can gather now and then
Around our dear old mother's knee and be her boys again,
We'll ever pledge our faith again anew and in affection's wine
We'll drink a cup of kindness to the days of auld lang syne.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "University of Virginia Glee Club Photo, February 11, 1893". 1893-02-11. Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  2. "Cavalier Marching Band: Lyrics from UVA Songs". Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  3. Craighill, Edward (October 1922). "'The Good Old Song' in the Making". University of Virginia Magazine 73 (1): 1,3. 
  4. Meacham, Scott (2004). "The Persistence of "Wa-hoo-wa," Dartmouth's "Indian Yell," at the University of Virginia" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-08-22. 
  5. Dabney, Virginius (1981). Mr. Jefferson's University. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. pp. 114. ISBN 081390904X. 
  6. "Virginia Pep Band History". Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  7. Ackert, Kristie; Luke Cyphers (2001-05-13). "Out of the Shadows". New York Daily News. 
  8. Solotorovsky, Alec (2007-11-07). "The New 'Not Gay'". The Cavalier Daily. 
  9. "Notes from the Path". Virginia Glee Club website. Retrieved 2008-09-03.  Verse 2, not usually played at sporting events, is documented in this recording.
  10. "Finals Week". Alumni Bulletin III (4): 346-347. August 1910. Retrieved 2010-08-19. Verse 3 may never have been heard since Finals Week of 1910, but was documented in the Alumni Bulletin as having been written by Craighill specifically for alums to sing.

External links[edit | edit source]

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