Songs of Chi Psi
In Volume Five of The Purple and Gold magazine in 1888, under the category of "Some Wants,” the editor suggested that Chi Psi needed, first and foremost, a good songbook. At that point we had a little volume, published several years earlier, containing a too meager collection of loyal verses, set to "profane” airs, reasonably good for its time and kind. But times change. Our banquets sometimes drag for want of some ringing glee or loyal melody. We’ve had "Philip Spencer” and others, but the need is always there for more, many more songs.
The influence of a loyal song, well sung at a banquet, is greater than all the speech-making. Songs somehow go deeper; they inspire the young members and revive memories of college days in the Brothers who are older. Songs are (or should be) the very heart-throbs of all fraternal gatherings.
College life without music would be dull. How much happier, then, would be every Alpha’s life with loyal Chi Psi songs and airs! The Lodge would be more cheerful, and each Brother would surely be inspired to work all the more for the Fraternity. So we say, we must have more singing and more songs – at our banquets, in our Lodges. Everywhere that Chi Psi enthusiasm exists, it should find spontaneous expression in jolly Chi Psi songs.
And this leads to the suggestion of what would appear to be an essential piece. The sine qua non of a singing fraternity is a man at the head of the enterprise at each Alpha, suited by tastes and talent for the work. Find a Brother who has appropriate musical tastes and talent, who can carry a tune and break apart the harmony, who understands versification, and who is a loyal and earnest Chi Psi. Make him the Choregus and charge him with leading the Alpha in song at every possible chance. The newest members should learn the most important and familiar songs at once. With a good choregus taking the lead, all members will gladly increase their repertoire during their undergraduate days … and beyond.
Shall we not, then, take immediate steps in the direction indicated? Everyone knows the tune to "Chi Psis Ever” (a standard alma mater tune) and "Chi Psis Are We” ("Scotland the Brave”). Our clan needs more songs and more singing. By the singing of them, we will become more loyal clansmen, more enthusiastic Chi Psis.
Here, now, is a sufficiency of songs. Let’s have at it, lads!
For generations, Chi Psi has been known as the "Singing Fraternity," and songs have always been a great expression of our bonds of Brotherhood. The current edition of The Chi Psi Story published nearly thirty Chi Psi songs, along with more than a dozen of the more popular collegiate fight songs and alma maters. (Contact the Central Office if you don't have a copy.)
A recording of some of our songs was commissioned by the Executive Council in 1952, featuring the Don Craig Male Chorus of New York. Spencer Hattendorf and members of his a cappella group ("Hogappella" of Northfield Mount Hermon School in Gill, MA) have begun updating the audio songbook with a more youthful sound, available in the first six tracks below. "Meandering" was sung by a forerunner of Hogappella at NMH, known as the "Ripchords," featuring Justin Heckman, later the leader of Chi Psi's Phi Delta Colony at George Washington University in the 1990s.
"The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.”
– William Shakespeare
Accessing the song files below:
- To listen, click play
- To download the audio file, click on the mp3 link
- To download the sheet music in PDF form, click the sheet link