When Colleges Sang: The Story of Singing in American College Life

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9780817317904: When Colleges Sang: The Story of Singing in American College Life
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When Colleges Sang is an illustrated history of the rich culture of college singing from the earliest days of the American republic to the present. Before fraternity songs, alma maters, and the rahs of college fight songs became commonplace, students sang. Students in the earliest American colleges created their own literary melodies that they shared with their classmates. As J. Lloyd Winstead documents in When Colleges Sang, college singing expanded in conjunction with the growth of the nation and the American higher education system.  While it was often simply an entertaining pastime, singing had other subtle and not-so-subtle effects. Singing indoctrinated students into the life of formal and informal student organizations as well as encouraged them to conform to college rituals and celebrations. University faculty used songs to reinforce the religious practices and ceremonial observances that their universities supported. Students used singing for more social purposes: students sang to praise their peer’s achievements (and underachievements), mock the faculty, and provide humor. In extreme circumstances, they sang to intimidate classmates and faculty, and to defy college authorities. Singing was, and is, an intrinsic part of campus culture.  When Colleges Sang explores the dynamics that inspired collegiate singing and the development of singing traditions from the earliest days of the American college. Winstead explores this tradition’s tenuous beginnings in the Puritan era and follows its progress into the present. Using historical documents provided by various universities, When Colleges Sang follows the unique applications and influences of song that persisted in various forms. This original and significant contribution to the literature of higher education sheds light on how college singing traditions have evolved through the generations and have continued to remain culturally relevant even today.

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About the Author:

J. Lloyd Winstead is associate director of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at the University of Georgia. 

Review:

Winner: 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Award in History by the Georgia Writers Association

“The book’s eight well-written and accessible chapters focus on the social history of music and musical performance and are built upon the premise that college singing exemplifies broader social and cultural trends. . . . I recommend When Colleges Sang to those interested in the changing character of campus life or the social history of American music.”
American Historical Review

"Those who are interested in college singing will welcome this survey. Winstead (director, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, Univ. of Georgia) identifies and documents highlights of campus singing in the US from the 17th century to the present."—CHOICE

“In the end, When Colleges Sang introduces the history of college singing and presents the reader a glimpse of a world in which ‘students experienced singing as a meaningful component of many aspects of college and student life’.”
The Journal of Southern History
 
"Winstead covers more than 300 years of American higher education, providing a wealth of detail about a diverse number of colleges in an accessible volume. Higher education historians and practitioners instudent affairs and student events will find it relevant, as it explores the co-curriculum, weaving many aspects of student life, including athletics, Greek life, and student events, into its narrative."
Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice
“In this impressively researched and well written history, Lloyd Winstead describes college singing, always with an eye toward how, in Winstead’s words, this ‘seemingly small component of college life has had a broad and far-reaching impact on college traditions.’ And since he is careful to contextualize, this book is as much about the history of higher education in America as it is about its vocal music.”
—Georgia Writers Association

When Colleges Sang is an original, significant contribution to the literature on the history of higher education writ large. The archival research is thorough and often involves tracking down and analyzing documents heretofore unexamined and/or underappreciated. This book continually brings new episodes, variations, events, and interpretations that makes one rethink the whole conceptualization of campus life.”
—John R. Thelin, author of A History of American Higher Education and Games Colleges Play 
“J. Lloyd Winstead’s When Colleges Sang demonstrates tremendous originality and merit. I have little doubt that this work will immediately become the standard bearer in the scholarship of campus song and thereby campus life. Two important strengths of the book involve the depth and breadth of the scholarship used by the author as well as the use of varied examples from multiple institutions to advance the analysis.”
―Amy Wells Dolan, associate dean of the School of Education and associate professor of leadership and counselor education at the University of Mississippi

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