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Sisterhood through Song: Over 100 Years of Singing Sigmas By: Liz Johns, Delta Omicron • National Archivist Song has a way of bringing people together, and any time I attend
Theta’s lyrics to the same tune gave a similar message, reminding
a Sigma event, I can be sure to either learn a new song, teach
sisters to be faithful unto death:
one to another sister, or join in with others on a familiar tune. Last
Aye, faithful unto death, The words our lips repeat Shall win our hearts’ devotion To the bonds of Sigma sweet.
In the glad dreams of the future, In the mem’ries of the past, Thou wilt hold our love, O Sigma, Still faithful to the last.
year at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Mabel Lee Walton House, I chanted and sang with collegiates, alumnae, Executive Council members, and Golden Violets over s’mores. Song can help us become more connected to our sisterhood and stay with us as a reminder of our commitment throughout our lives. Sigmas have a long history of song; our first song book being printed in 1910. For over 100 years, Tri Sigmas have been singing about our sisterhood and its long-lasting presence in our lives.
Even as the sorority was entering only its second decade, the women knew that their sisterhood would last for years and
Many of our songs are made of Sigma lyrics, but are sung to
years to come. Song can enrich our lives and strengthen our
familiar tunes, such as one of my favorites, “1492”, which is
sisterhood. By 1925, the revised song book contained many
sung to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” “Fins,” sung to
more tunes, and many more official songs, such as an “Opening
the Jimmy Buffett tune of the same name, was written by the
Song,” “Founders’ Day” song, “Initiation Song,” and even a
Delta Pi chapter; and “Sigma, Tri Sigma,” submitted by Omicron,
“Convention Song.” Although we no longer sing these songs,
is sung to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman.” When I came
the general theme of love, friendship, and sisterhood live on in
across the original “Sigma Sigma Sigma Song Book” in the
the new songs that touch the hearts of Sigmas today. With each
archives, published in 1910, I eagerly cracked it open to see
new song book, new music enters our shared Sigma experience;
if there was anything familiar.
though some songs do eventually fade away. Through careful
The first song printed was “Stately and Royal,” and the lyrics
preservation and digitization, the Archives Committee will ensure
have not changed a bit in over 100 years. Besides “Stately and
that Tri Sigmas’ song history will never be truly lost.
Royal,” all other songs in the book were written by Sigmas
For questions about the archives and its collections, or submitting
from various chapters. The first song book was created after
materials to the Archives, contact Liz Johns, National Archivist at
the passing of a resolution at the Sixth Convention in 1908 in
Chattanooga, TN. “The committee made every effort to obtain all Sigma songs,”* and songs were solicited from all chapters, yielding in almost 30 Sigma tunes. The Sigmas of the early 20th century often did as we do now, choosing familiar tunes and writing their own lyrics. Two songs were written to the tune “Annie Laurie,” a Scottish song. The version from the Gamma chapter reminds sisters that Tri Sigma lasts even after college:
Long live the white and purple, The fragrant violet blue, And to Sigma Sigma Sigma, May each of us be true, And faithful, too, for aye, Yes, Sigma we will love you Better as the years go by.
* Song Committee [Margaret B. Goodman, Lila MacDonald, and Jessie McCullough]
Sigma Sigma Sigma Song Book, 1910, 1st ed. Compiled by Margaret B. Goodman, Lila Macdonald, and Jessie McCullough.
Sigma Sigma Sigma Song Book, Revised Edition, 1925.
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