Happy Birthday Albion! – Orchestra celebrates 175th anniversary

Even colleges need to hear a “Happy Birthday”. The Albion College Symphony Orchestra performed just that in honor of Albion College’s Homecoming weekend.

In its first concert of the year on Sunday, Oct. 3, the orchestra recognized the college’s 175th anniversary by playing six songs from a recently discovered songbook published in the 1930s. 

“I heard of the book from Dr. Mark Webb,” said James Ball, professor of music and director when asked how the book came to be found. “(Webb) found the old book from one student who found it from a grandparent who found it from–who knows.” 

After looking at the book, Ball decided to use six out of the 10 songs in the music book. Titles included the “Albion College Football Medley”, “On the Kazoo” and “Old Albion”. 

Ball commenced the birthday celebrations by conducting the orchestra in multiple variations he has heard of “Happy Birthday.” Although the songs fit the occasion, Ball admitted to violating copyright law with the variations. 

“For all you legal people out there- it’s not quite legal,” Ball said. “’Happy Birthday’, of course, is copyrighted material. As long as nobody turns us in- it’s really rather a clever set of variations.” 

The choirs sang tunes ranging from Israeli folklore to jazz, ending the night with a joint performance between the choirs and orchestra of the well known “Albion, Dear Albion.” Lyrics were handed out to the audience to ensure the whole room wished Albion College and happy 175th anniversary.

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