I've mentioned my opinion about unwarranted standing ovations before, and I was wondering how that would be handled at these college performances. Very cleverly, it turns out. Most W&M groups end their concerts with the Alma Mater, during which students and alumni are all supposed to stand. And of course everyone else in the audience, not wanting to feel left out, stands too (kind of like the National Anthem). Which leaves the whole room standing, and then clapping, at the end of the performance. Tricky, no?
A word about the William and Mary alma mater. In the four years in the mid-1970’s that I was at the school, I don’t remember ever singing the alma mater. I may not have even heard it played...if I did, I don’t remember. I certainly couldn’t have told you the words or hummed a few bars (my husband has the same recollection of the Duke alma mater, which is essentially none). Back in those days, we were all a bit anti-establishment, and college spirit seemed pretty low. Nowadays, things have certainly turned around, the college seems to be oozing with “Tribe Pride,” and they seem to play the alma mater at the drop of a hat. For the first two years that I visited the college as the parent of a student, I heard it many times, but could never remember much more than the line “hark upon the gale.” Please don’t ask me what that means. But this weekend, I sang it four times. So now I at least have the chorus (which is decidedly catchy) memorized. Listen to a snippet of it here.