History of the School Song

 
 

On Wisconsin is not only the University "fight song," but it has also been designated as the official State Song of Wisconsin. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular school songs in the country and has been adopted by thousands of high school bands as their own. It is rare to attend a high school football game anywhere in the U.S. and not hear On Wisconsin being performed by at least one of the school bands.  The melody of this famous song was composed in 1909 by W.T. Purdy, a corporation clerk who prior to that time had never set foot in Wisconsin. The words were supplied by Carl Beck, a former University of Wisconsin student. In the parlor of a Chicago boarding house, it took them only several evenings to compose. The pair (who worked for $10 per day each) couldn't scare up the $50 it took to publish the tune. They got a $10 credit from a firm of music plate engravers, used the credit for reference at the printers, and had 500 copies hastily printed. Written accounts of the earliest performances of On Wisconsin reveal that the first performance occurred on November 10, 1909, when it was sung by the "Glee Club.  " Purdy performed the song November 11, 1909, at a giant pep rally before the Minnesota game. The song was an instant hit with students singing "Fight fellows, fight, fight, fight, we'll win this game." It was also reported that the UW Band performed the song at the Minnesota game on November 13, 1909. Over the years many other memorable "events" have happened with On Wisconsin. In 1918, Purdy sold his copyright for less than $100. On July 11, 1959, On Wisconsin was adopted by the state legislature and signed by Governor Gaylord Nelson as the official state song. Many rumors swirl as to who owns the rights to On Wisconsin ranging from Michael Jackson to Paul McCartney. The song is considered to be in the public domain.  John Philip Sousa has called On Wisconsin, "the finest of college marching songs." Traditions such as this make On Wisconsin a personal university to faculty, students, and alumni everywhere.

 

S.C. High School, S.C. High School

We'll be always true,

Loyal Friendship, fun, and knowledge

Here we find in you, RAH, RAH, RAH,

Faithful service do we pledge you,

Pledge most heartily,

Hail to our High School, Hail to S.C. High.

Days of toil and hours of pleasure

Moments too of fear,

Makes the memories we shall treasure

In our future years, RAH, RAH, RAH,

And when we have parted from you

Proudly shall we say,

Fame crown the name of dear old S.C. High.