Here’s the find of the semester (so far). A couple of days ago I received this surprising email from loyal reader Marty Merritt:
In about 2005 I recorded some songs for the elderly Dr. Girard and his classmate Dr. Ross. They played two pianos and I think they sang. One of the songs was the fight song, another was the Rice Hymn, and there were some popular songs of the day and songs they wrote. Did they give you a copy of that recording? If not, would you like one?
Um, hell yes, I’d like one.
And here we go. First up, the Rice Fight Song:
And next, the Rice Hymn:
And a million thanks to Marty!
You’re welcome. It brings goosebumps, doesn’t it? One of the reasons I did it (Dr. Girard approached the Shepherd School wanting a place to record) is because Dr. Girard performed surgery on my eyes when I was a toddler. Find of the semester? You’re too kind!
Dr. Girard told me that he “borrowed” the tune for The Fight Song from one of his father Harry’s comic operas, with his father’s permission.
I have all of the surviving hand-written originals of “The Alaskan” and “Maid of Manalay”, and have pored over the fragile pages, but haven’t been able to find anything resembling The Fight Song therein.
Possibly this can help: A front page story in the Sept. 13, 1945, Thresher (http://scholarship.rice.edu/bitstream/handle/1911/65784/thr19450913.pdf) says that the music for the Fight Song was composed by Louis Girard’s father, Harry, on a fishing trip in 1910. It was initially called “Prairieland.”
Any pictures of the recording session?
I don’t remember. I actually think there was a story about it in Rice News or the Thresher, or something, but I’m not sure. It was just a little private “favor” we did for a couple of illustrious alums in one of our faculty studios. My MOB connection and having been Dr. Girard’s patient long ago helped.
I was in the MOB starting in the fall of 1953 until 1958. I remember that on one afternoon (maybe 1953) the MOB played a new Rice Hymn. I remember it since it had rained that morning and when the sun came out in the afternoon, at the halftime show, steam was rising from the field. I played the bassoon and the bass part had nothing but low whole notes. About half way thru, I realized I was out of breath and about to pass out so I had to quit playing. The heavy hot uniforms probably didn’t help.
Dr. Girard’s son, Lee, is a friend of mine. I’ve been forwarding the relevant Rice History Corner postings to him – and he has enjoyed them immensely. In fact, upon receiving these recordings, he wrote, “I will pass on to Bill Ross’ daughter also – he is STILL alive – he’s 96!!”
I am virtually certain that we made a few CD’s with these songs and that photo above on the cover. Dr. Girard was the driving force behind it and we gave him one for sure. Pretty sure we gave one to Dr. Ross, too.
Thank you, Melissa. I had not thought about these songs for quite a long time Now I have the fight song in my head (along with the SRC version from the 70’s Sigh (-:
I am the 3rd of DrLouis Girard’s 6 children
Christina Girard. And Dr. Bill Ross and our Dad wrote the Rice Anthem , and the Rice Fight Song and the Rice Medely before they Graduated in 1941 from Rice University!!
They made a CD together with all these Songs and more!! Thanks to Daddy’s wife of 37yrs Louise Girard! Thanks to all of them We All See these Songs Of RICE UNIVERSITY!!!!! (If you would ever like a copy ?) Last year Rice University Celebrated 100 Years !! And thanks to Ping Sun Lebroon’s request, I was asked to host a vidio of this same story ! And I gave a copy of the CD to her for Rice University for alumni and students too!!( I sang the Rice Fight Song on the Vidio!!) As My father was taught by his parents, Harry and Agnes Girard, who brought the 1st Opera Co. To Houston Tx , and Set Up their Studio in the Penthouse of the Rice Hotel to teach. Hou Grand Opera holds the copies of all their Operas in their Archives. Daddy and Bill we constantly awoken in the middle of the night to come and play their
” Duets” for their colllege buddies at Rice !
Singing BarbarShop songs where everyone
“Sang Along” !!! ( all night long!!) UNCLE Bill Ross is still Alive to tell the dozens of GREAT STORIES!!
We as children , weekly stood up behind our ‘Stand Up Steinway Piano’ at home, as Daddy taught each one of us (6) to sing harmony- going up and down the key board each each of us had our own ‘cord’ to sing- and when one of us was out , we would just all go UP a cord or two- or down !!!! WE ALL SING TO THIS DAY!! Mickie Susie Chrissy Lee Gabriel and Louie !!! “ALL FOR RICE’S HONOR” CHEERS!!
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