Inventing Tradition: The Alma Mater, Oh Citadel We Sing Thy Fame!
By Steven Smith, ‘84
Annie Lisle was a ballad which first appeared around 1857 written by Boston, Massachusetts songwriter, H. S. Thompson and first published by Moulton & Clark of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and later by Oliver Ditson & Co. The tune in popular culture is best remembered as the Kellerman’s Anthem from the 1987 romance movie Dirty Dancing starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
Archibald C. Weeks and Wilmot M. Smith wrote the Cornell University “Alma Mater”, Far Above Cayuga’s Waters, to this melody in 1872. Some 187 universities, colleges, and high schools adopted the tune for their Alma Maters. Among these include the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the College of William and Mary, Colorado State University, UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Missouri, the University of Georgia, the University of Alabama, Indiana University, Birmingham-Southern College, Emory University, Lehigh University, Lewis & Clark College, Moravian College, Xavier University, Acadia University, Vanderbilt University, and even the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
In South Carolina they included Wofford College, Erskine College, Clemson University, and yes, even The Citadel. Carl H. Metz, Citadel Band Director from 1912 to 1943, arranged the original lyrics of The Citadel Alma Mater around 1924.
Citadel, All Hail
On the shores of South Carolina
Proudly rears its head.
All hail to the, our Alma Mater.
Conquer and prevail!
Loyal sons will ever love thee,
Honor and obey.
All hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
Citadel all hail
For some sixteen or seventeen years The Citadel shared this tune until many felt The Citadel as a college possessed enough originality, it was entitled an alma mater belonging to it alone. Metz proposed in 1942-1943, during the Citadel’s centennial celebration, a revised tune for an alma mater he originally wrote in 1934. Although this melody could accommodate the original words to Citadel, All Hail, Cadet First Lieutenant Arthur Preston Price, Class of 1943, wrote new words “satisfying the requirements of simplicity and beauty of tone and originality” befitting the new alma mater. The Citadel’s Director of Choral Music, Mr. Princeton Dauer adapted the words to Metz’s music giving The Citadel its current alma mater. Price, off to war after graduation, did not hear “his” Alma Mater until he attended a Citadel football game in Charleston in 1959.
The Citadel Alma Mater (1943)
Oh Citadel, we sing thy fame
For all the world to hear.
And in the Paths our fathers showed us
Follow without fear.
Peace and Honor, God and Country,
We will fight for thee.
Oh Citadel, we praise thee now
And in Eternity.
Oh Citadel, though strife surrounds us,
We will ever be
Full conscious of the benefits
That we derive from thee.
Stand forever, yielding never
To the tyrant’s Hell
We’ll never cease our struggles for
Our mighty Citadel