Amherst Magazine

The Law Says You Sing

By Katherine Duke '05 and Emily Gold Boutilier

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Glee Clubbers organized a tutorial in South to teach students the lyrics and melodies—and movements—to old-school Amherst songs.

“Every time we score a goal, it’s the law that we have to sing ‘Lord Jeff,’” Glee Club President Alex Speir ’11 told a crowd assembled in the library of South. It was a Thursday evening in late October, and Speir’s club, with the help of the resident counselors and Choral Society Director Mallorie Chernin, had arranged gatherings at various dorms to teach their fellow students, especially first-years, some of the classic Amherst College songs—just in time for Homecoming.

The Glee Clubbers and others in the Choral Society passed out sheet music and guided everyone through the lyrics, melody and movements to “Lord Jeffery Amherst,” “To the Fairest College,” “Hand Me Down My Bonnet” and “Old Amherst’s Out for Business.”

The tutorial was the idea of Rohan Mazumdar ’12, Glee Club business manager and RC, who’d witnessed older alumni—specifically, parents of his friends—become “despondent” when younger generations couldn’t sing the traditional songs. Mazumdar has now arranged to make it the duty of someone in the Glee Club to hold sing-alongs every year.

Over Homecoming, Mazumdar ran into an alumna who’d noticed a group of students singing as they walked to the football game. “They told her, ‘The Glee Club came and taught us these songs,’” Mazumdar says. “It was a bit of a victory.”    

Photo by Samuel Masinter '04