Lyrics for Lutes: alma mater music needs words

Kaitlyn Hall, Copy Editor

Pacific Lutheran University is searching for lyrics for its new alma mater song commemorating the university’s 125th anniversary.

Any member of the PLU community can enter the online lyrics contest, with the winning lyricist receiving two tickets to Teatro Zinzanni in Seattle.

“The idea is for people to essentially contribute to a crowd-sourced set of words,” music professor Gregory Youtz said, “and anybody—current students, faculty, alum, staff—can throw lyrics against this tune, and somehow we will decide.”

PLU’s most recent alma mater tune —of the three or four songs used since PLU’s inception—was composed in the 1950s and is clearly outdated, Youtz said.

By involving the PLU community, Youtz hopes the lyrics can have the same timeless, Lutheran quality as his piece. The selected lyrics will likely address themes of PLU, such as diversity, global education and sustainability.

“Every set of words reflects the values of the current generation, and maybe 50 years from now somebody will look at this and go ‘Oh, this is so dated,’” Youtz said, “but what we’re hoping is that at least for a while, these words will reflect who we are, what we value.”

Youtz suggested potential lyricists should avoid jargon and focus on words that invite people into the PLU community.

“They have to sound like we actually mean this,” Youtz said, “so that when we sing it, we really do get that warm, gooey community feeling.”

Youtz composed the new alma mater tune as part of his Lutheran Recessional, an alternative to PLU’s beloved “Processional of Joy.”

His recessional features folk music of PLU gateway program locations Trinidad, China, Mexico and Norway in combination with famous Lutheran hymns, creating a piece meant to capture the identity of PLU. It can be superimposed on “O Day Full of Grace,” which has a unique, antique three-phrase structure.

President Krise, who fronted the search for a new alma mater song, will partner with Youtz to select the lyrics. Krise felt it necessary that PLU develop a new piece of musical identity for students, staff, faculty and alumni, Youtz said.

Submit your lyrics here. 🅼

Leave a Reply