On, Wisconsin!

Written by J. S. Hubbard and Charles D. Rosa
Composed by William T. Purdy

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Grand old badger state!
We, thy loyal sons and daughters,
Hail thee, good and great.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Champion of the right,
"Forward", our motto
God will give thee might!"

Official Song of the State of Wisconsin.
Adopted in 1959.

Go back to US State Songs

For reasons I never fully understood, "On, Wisconsin!" is also the fight song of Waterford Public High School (WHS), located in Waterford, CT USA. The song was never sung, but instead played by the marching band during football games.

One of the few traditions I had the opportunity to pass down to the classes that came after me was an alternate 1st Trombone part to the song, usually played by whoever is section leader. The alternate arrangement is a couple orders of magnitude faster and more complex, but sounds terrific if played confidently against the rest of the band. It is a ridiculously complex countermelody that was handed down to me from my section leader freshman year, and was never written down (the inheritor was expected to learn it by ear and memorize it).

Whenever the trombone section (while I was there) was instructed to "cut it out", the entire section would take turns playing the alternate part phrase by phrase (i.e.: The first trombone would play the first phrase, then the second would pick up the next, the third the next, until the end of the line, when the first trombone would play the next phrase, starting the cycle over again). The order in which any given trombone would sneak in part of the altered countermelody was determined arbitrarily beforehand, so no one observing would be able to pick up the pattern until the end of the song.

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