Thursday, 17 May 2007 01:00
New State Song ContestWritten by WGCU Newsroom
Two state lawmakers will introduce a bill in next year’s legislative session to create a new state song. Governor Charlie Crist set a precedent by excluding the current one from his inauguration.
The Florida Legislature made Steven Foster’s “Old Folks at Home” the state song in 1935. In recent years the song’s references to “darkies” and “plantations” have come under fire. Now some say it’s time for a change. The Florida Music Educators Association is heading up the project to find a new state song - and spokeswoman Katherine Mason says all state residents can participate.
“Florida citizens can engage either by submitting a song if they are a songwriter or they can vote on-line once we have the final three. we’re really looking for a song that’s inclusive and is reflective of the environment and values of our state today…”
If an existing song is submitted it must include the copywriter’s permission. It’s asked that the song be about three minutes in length – and easy for just about anyone to sing. Contest rules are available at Just Sing Florida.org. The winning entry will be most likely be adopted by lawmakers as the new state song next spring.
The Florida Music Educators Association has kicked off a search for a new state song. Lyrics in the present song, “Old Folks at Home”
reference “darkies” and “plantations”. Governor Charley Crist excluded it from his inaugural. Spokeswoman for the music educators, Katherine Mason says the new song needs to be inclusive and singable.
“the national anthem is something that a lot of people can’t sing and that’s because it’s a wide interval range and there is a requirement for this song which is a vocal range that should not exceed a ninth – so that pretty much means something that’s pretty much singable by most people”
All Florida citizens are invited to submit songs. Applications and submission guidelines are on-line at justsingflorida.org. A committee will narrow the songs down to a top three – and those will posted at the website where the public can then vote. The top pick goes to state lawmakers for approval in the 2008 legislative session.