All Hail: All hail “All Hail!”

I was pleased to see a copy of “The SGA Scoop” in my residence hall lobby a few weeks ago. This newsletter, printed by the Student Government Association (SGA), is a great way for our representatives to communicate with their constituents.

I was troubled, however, to read the Athletics Subcommittee has decided to write a new school fight song, titled “Diehard Dog.”

I wondered what was wrong with our current fight song, “All Hail Northeastern.” The song was written by 1932 College of Engineering graduate, C.A. Pethybridge. Since then, the song has been used to cheer on Huskies at sporting events and used at formal events, like graduation ceremonies.

I looked through the minutes on the SGA website, to find their reasoning for the replacement.

“It’s not that fun to sing,” Executive Vice President Adriana Campos said of “All Hail” in a Nov. 9, 2006 joint senate meeting. I do not know where Campos got this impression, but it certainly could not have been from an athletics game.

As a three-year member of the Pep Band, I have performed at hockey, football and basketball games, pep rallies and parades. Many times I have seen firsthand how our athletes and fans react to the fight song. After football victories, team members hold their helmets high and sing along with the band.

After each hockey goal, the Doghouse sings “All Hail” loud and proud. At the Feb. 16 win over Providence, the fans were singing it loud enough to drown out the band. This is an indication the song is fun to sing.

Another reason to replace “All Hail,” cited by Campos at the meeting, is the song “has words like ‘all hail,’ ‘jubilee’ and ‘thy.'” Although these words may seem dated, they are actually steeped in tradition. A few minutes of Googling found that nine of the 12 Colonial Athletic Association schools use such archaic language in their fight songs – even George Mason, which didn’t have fight song lyrics until 2006, uses customary words like “hail.”

So why are these words still important? According to the Wikipedia article on fight songs, “Fight songs are laden with history; in singing a fight song, fans feel part of a large, time-honored tradition.”

“All Hail” has been our fight song since the 1930s. To eliminate it would be to disown our very identity as a school. Heck, the name of this column space is derived from the song! Various performing arts groups have played or sung the song in many states, and even outside the country. This includes student groups like the DownBeats and national groups like the Boston Pops. Northeastern alumni around the world have used the song to identify with the university and look back on their time as students here. Getting rid of “All Hail” would alienate them, which would not be a good idea at a time when NU is trying to increase alumni involvement.

I applaud the Athletics Subcommittee and all the progress it has made. The “Diehard Dog” T-shirts are a hit. It seems many more students are attending athletic events than in the recent past. I am glad SGA is working to pump up school spirit. However, a new fight song is not necessary, and may even be detrimental.

When it comes to “All Hail,” the old adage is true: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

– Dayna Bradstreet is a middler psychology major.

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