Sunday, March 18, 2012

The California Song Book Down on the Farm (47)

I recently stumbled across a Davis history volume of which I had never heard: The California Song Book. 

The copy I have is the “Twelfth Edition, Revised and Enlarged” and edited by Leroy W. Allen, Cal class of 1913. It is published by the Associated Students’ Store of the University of California and dated 1923.

As I understand it, in the early period many “Davis students” were University of California at Berkeley students temporarily stationed at the “University Farm” outpost. To the degree that this was the practice, this book was also the song book of “Davis students.”

One indicator of this “outpost” status is found on page 95 (shown here), which is a collection of “California Yells,” one of which is the well-known (and still practiced?) “The Farm ‘Oski.’” A music notation version is on page 96 (also shown here).

Although a great number of the songs focus on doing football battle against Stanford, a few are about the University of California per se, as in the California Hymn (p. 4) and the University Hymn (p. 8)--songs doubtless sung at Davis in the early years.

There are larger points here, of course. One of them might be: College folks used to take their school-themed songs and singing a whole lot more seriously than they do now and actually sing songs, such as hymns, together at public gatherings.