‘To Denison’ like you’ve never heard it before

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This video features one of the many highlights of the 2011 Academic Awards Convocation: a new take on the college’s alma mater, “To Denison.” Jazz aficionado Eric “Harry” Brisson ’11 (far left) arranged the piece as a project this semester with associate professor of music Ching-chu Hu, and he was joined by Aaron Bennett ’13, Simon Mont ’11, Nathaniel Crawford ’14, Adam Safer ’14 and ensemble director Pete Mills for the premiere performance.

Brisson shared this explanation of the arrangment in the Convo program notes:

“I’ve always been interested in how music can reinforce community, and last year at the Academic Awards Convocation, I remember sitting next to a trustee, Charles Brickman ’54, and his wife, Nancy ’54, who still knew all the words to our alma mater. Somewhat concerned that many of my classmates (and I myself) had become less aware of this piece of music, I decided at this time to craft my own arrangement to increase its familiarity. The alma mater has four verses, so my arrangement has four movements to reflect the four years spent here at Denison — beginning and ending with a lone tenor saxophone.”

“To Denison” was originally penned by V. E. Field, Class of 1903, to the tune of “Oh Bring the Wagon Home.” For those who might have grown fuzzy on the lyrics, follow along here:

To Denison, we raise our song
Fair college on the hill,
The name that sets our souls on fire
And makes our senses thrill
To Denison, my Denison
In praise our voices swell,
The scenes of happy college days,
The Home we love so well

Oh morning glow, which gilds the east
Oh sun which shines at noon
Oh stars which bloom at eventide
Oh radiant glowing moon
Look from the pathless, azure dome
Shed blessings from above
On college halls and college walls
The Denison we love

And when the shadows softly fall
O’er hills and valleys dear
Across the college campus rings
The melody so clear
The circling hills throw back again
The glad inspiring song
And in our hearts to Denison
Our praises we prolong

When from the fold we far shall stray
With souls no longer young
We’ll ne’er forget our college days
These happy scenes among
And when our steps have feeble grown
Our journey almost done
E’en then with fleeting breath we’ll praise
Our dear old Denison


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11:23 PM May 24, 2011

BETTS SPROAT SPRINGER wrote:

THANKS SO MUCH FOR PUTTING THIS DELIGHTFUL RENDITION OF TO DENISON ON THE SITE.
I’M COMING TO GRANVILLE NEXT WEEK FOR THE 50TH REUNION AND IT SETS THE MOOD.

(0)

1:56 PM May 23, 2011

barbara H. Jones wrote:

Absolutely loved it. Bravo. Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone.

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