Wednesday, March 01, 2006

No State Song for Virginia

The Washington Post reports:

A House of Delegates committee has rejected a proposal to make "Shenandoah" the interim state song.

The House Rules Committee today rejected Manassas Senator Charles Colgan's bill on a voice vote after a 13-member ensemble from Shenandoah University sang a revised version of the traditional folk song.

Committee members said they enjoyed the performance but they still didn't think the song was representative of the entire state.

Colgan had Shenandoah University Dean Charlotte Collins rewrite the lyrics because of complaints that they contained no specific mention of Virginia.

The rewritten version mentioned the state several times and did not include the original song's references to the Missouri River.

Virginia has been without an official state song since "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" was retired nearly a decade ago because of racially offensive lyrics.

It's also interesting to note that the original "racially offensive" state song "was written by an African American minstrel, James Bland." It might be harder to rewrite, but at least it mentioned Virginia.

On an almost entirely unrelated note, the current Russian national anthem is the same as the Soviet anthem, but with revised lyrics.

Update, Mar. 2nd: The Washington Times has a better article. Some highlights:

The song, most argued, is about folks leaving Virginia, crossing the "wide Missouri" to escape difficult economic times.

Sen. Charles J. Colgan Sr. brought in a choir from the Shenandoah Valley to make his case for the tune, which was changed to be more Virginia-centric. Mr. Colgan's proposal re-tooled the lyrics to "Shenandoah," deleting some of the lines about fleeing the state...

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith, who applauded the Shenandoah Singers before voting against the "Shenandoah" proposal, said it is "not appropriate" to honor a song that was originally about flight out of the Old Dominion...

The refrain will continue -- most lawmakers want an official song in place by the time the state celebrates its 400th birthday with the planned Jamestown 2007 soiree.

Technorati Tags: ,

No comments: