Friday, June 12, 2009

Birthplace of the state song

Our good friends at Goodnight, Raleigh! have a wonderful piece (and photo) on the place where the state song, "The Old North State Forever," was written.

There is a marker in Raleigh on the "Hargett Street side of the Edmisten Building denoting the spot where Judge William Gaston penned the official North Carolina state song 'The Old North State Forever,'" says the site. From The North Carolina History Project ...

In late 1830s, he composed the song to counter the charge that North Carolina was the “Rip Van Winkle State”—backward and unchanging. This motivation is evidenced in the following line: “Tho’ the scorner may sneer at and witlings defame her, Still our hearts swell with gladness whenever we name her.” In 1927, the state officially adopted Gaston’s song.

I was attending a state conference last year where a children's choir performed the song. The audience was asked to sing the chorus, but few people knew the words or tune, which is a shame. Hopefully this is a song that can regain prominence, perhaps in the public schools, so that it's not completely forgotten.

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