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Sons of Old Massachusetts

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Sons of Old Massachusetts

It’s funny the ways band alumni come together to share an experience.

Last week, Keith Paul ’98 was looking for UMass ephemera on eBay and came across sheet music for an old UMass song, “Sons of Old Mass’chusetts“, circa 1903. So he bought it. He received it in the mail today, carefully unpackaged it, took photos of the pages with his iPhone, and shared them to the UMass Band Alumni group on Facebook.

Within a couple hours, 2 dozen alumni liked, commented, or shared the image of the cover and the link to a PDF Keith had made from those iPhone images.

But the best of all comes from UMass drumline alum TJ Kelly ’07, who consults in online marketing for real estate with his company not far from Amherst, took things a step further and transcribed the music into Sibelius to let others experience the sound:

“I’m a drummer. I don’t read pitched music as well as most of my wind player friends. So I couldn’t read the score and automatically hear the tune in my head.

I wanted to hear what it sounded like—this tune from 114 years ago—and I knew I couldn’t be the only one curious about it.

I write (percussion) music for my school, so I already had the software. I figured why not transcribe the tune into Sibelius so the rest of the 2017 audience can hear it too?

It’s a nice song. A little slow for my taste 🙂 And I wish it weren’t just about “sons,” but it was published 9 years before UMass (or what was then Massachusetts Agricultural College) had any women enrolled.”

The sheet music will be donated to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst.

UPDATE (May 16, 2017): Aaron Rubinstein, the University Archivist writes:

We have several copies of later editions of this music but only one from 1903 and it is not in as nice condition!

So, like this example, if you happen to see anything vintage UMass out in the world, please think of donating it to the library!

Watch and listen to the tune. Files are yours to download:

Sons of Old Massachusetts

Here’s a recording from the 1935 UMass Glee Club

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