041.1 - Alma Mater

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About the song

The Alma Mater as written by Edmund Fales was published under the title "Here's to Old R.P.I." in the first book of Songs of Rensselaer printed in 1913. In 1918, there was some dissatisfaction expressed about the alma mater and the Phalanx sponsored a contest for a new school song. Because of the distraction of world war, there was little interest in producing a new song and only one entry was submitted. The Polytechnic Board, who was preparing a new edition of Songs of Rensselaer, attempted to resurrect the debate in the spring of 1920. A "large majority thinks the present song lacks the proper spirit, and that a new and more forceful song should be adopted." The song endured, however, and remains the Alma Mater of RPI. (Description courtesy of the RPI Institute Archives)


Here's to old RPI, her fame may never die.
Here's to old Rensselaer, she stands today without a peer.
Here's to those olden days,
Here's to those golden days,
Here's to the friends we made at dear old RPI.


The song begins with a single trumpet playing the concert G on which the melody begins. The conductor counts off and the band plays the song once through, then repeats the song singing the lyrics instead of playing. The percussion traditionally joins back in for the last 4 measures of the vocal repeat, at which point the crowd often yells the final "RPI" quite loudly.


While playing Alma Mater, the band sways back and forth each measure (i.e.- to the left one measure, then to the right the next). The sway always starts to the person's LEFT regardless of orientation to the conductor/rest of the band (Exception-conductors will occasionally sway inverted to the rest of the band).


At the start of the 2005-06 hockey season, the band began going up into the stands to play Alma Mater during the second period break. It was well received, so the band still does it today.

America's Pep Band (album)
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36. Hand Jive 37. Alma Mater 38. Hail (short)

Pep Band 2006 CD
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15. The Magnificent Seven 16. Alma Mater 17. Gimme Some Lovin'

Live from TSBMH 2007
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5. You Can Call Me Al 6. Alma Mater N/A

Live from TSBMH 2008
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5. Are You Gonna Be My Girl 6. Alma Mater 7. Hogan's Heroes March

Live in Québec 2008
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9. Spirit in the Sky 10. Alma Mater 11. Rebel Yell