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The Calvin M. Woodward Alma Mater

The basic tune of the Ala Mater comes from "Annie Lisle" is the name of an 1857 ballad by Boston, Massachusetts songwriter H. S. Thompson first published by Moulton & Clark of Newburyport, Massachusetts, and later by Oliver Ditson & Co.[i] The song is also the basis for Cornell University’s Alma Mater. The words for our Alma Mater were written by Mr. Edward Sorton, Woodward’s choral director at the time and adopted for use in 1950’s.

Alma Mater Woodward High School.

Colors White and Blue.

Polar Bear we claim as mascot

Proud we are of you

Lift our colors to the heavens

Let them wave on High

Hail to thee our Alma Mater

Hail to Woodward High



[i] The lyrics for Cornell’s Alma Mater "Far Above Cayuga's Waters" were penned by a couple of Tioga Street roommates, Archibald Weeks 1872 and Wilmot Smith 1874. They set the words to the melody of "Annie Lisle," a maudlin 1850s ballad written by a Boston musician named H.S. Thompson about the decline and death of a virtuous maiden ("Earthly music cannot waken . . . lovely Annie Lisle").

 

She wasn't the only Annie Lisle destined for a tragic end--an Australian sailing ship of the same name sank after a collision in May 1887--but the tune has proved far more durable, achieving immortality as a template for school pride. From the hills of Pennsylvania to the bayous of Louisiana, from the deserts of the Middle East to the tropics of Southeast Asia, Cornell's alma mater became the Johnny Appleseed of school songs.