Just how many of us remember our school songs long after we graduate? Sadly enough, not that many.
Those memories may have faded either because those compositions weren’t emotionally rousing enough to tug at our heartstrings or weren’t musically appealing enough or didn’t have memorable lyrics.
But more importantly, the schools we attended didn’t have an anthem to begin with. That’s in sharp contrast to the volume and popularity of college football fight songs and stadium anthems.
Today, a minuscule number of elementary schools have school songs.
Yorktown-based singer and songwriter Scott Bierko estimated it to be a mere 10 percent. And even the ones that do have them are so old and outdated that they don’t resonate with the majority of the kids, he added.
So, Bierko and his wife, Beth—both of whom have a 15 year wealth of experience in the field of crafting school songs—came up with the idea of sponsoring a “Create a School Song Contest.”
The couple is asking elementary school children all across Westchester County to send in an online 250-word essay, expressing why their school deserves a new or a first-time school song.
The school with the most impassioned plea will get to participate in an intensive, three-day writer’s workshop to receive a foundation course in writing and recording a school song. Entries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline: November 15, 2008.
The logic behind this creative venture is simple.
Just as the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” makes every American feel connected to the nation and to one another, so would the school song make every kid feel a deeper bond to his or her school mates and to the institution.
“Solidarity and spirit are the cornerstones of a successful school song. Everyone knows the importance of music in the schools, but working together to create a song takes the musical experience to another level,” said Bierko.
“It gives children the opportunity to be artists. When you hear their voices, singing their song, [the] real ‘magic moment’ [comes alive],” added Beth in a prepared statement.
“The school’s anthem will incorporate the school’s values, somewhat like its mission statement, so that kids can feel that they’re a part of a tradition. It’s something that they’ll sing on Graduation Day, Field Day, etc,” said Bierko.
The Bierkos had this brainwave about 10 years ago when a PTA mother told them that she had no fond memories of her childhood school song. Since then, they’ve helped create over 40 of them in various schools in the Tri-State region.