Long Lost Songs of Regis

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First came the drinking song, which naturally evolved into the college fight song when any kind of competition, from academic to athletic, was added into the mix. From the late 19th century through their heyday in the 1930s and ’40s, college songs flourished.

Arguably the best known is Notre Dame’s victory march, but Regis College — as Regis was known then — was in the mix. Regis had a victory song, a marching song and a tune called “We’re Rooting for you, Brown and Gold.” In 1931, two more were added, “Alaho! Regis Men,” written by Regis’ Italian-born music director, Rev. Andrew Dimichino, S.J. He and renowned accounting teacher, Rev. Joseph A. Ryan, S.J, produced an alma mater called “Vive Regis!

This last anthem was included in a 1938 compilation of Everybody's Favorite Songs of the American College alongside Ivy League colleges and big state universities like Wisconsin and Pitt. The student newspaper opined, “This song is a real Alma Mater tune written in a spirited, majestic style.” The lyrics, says Regis alumnus and former professor Dennis Gallagher, appear to have been influenced by the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

Those tunes seemed to have faded as the decades passed and new students had their own ideas. Joseph M. Fanganello, a 1963 graduate, does not remember the songs from the 1930s but does recall frequently singing with his co-workers for Saga Food Service in the Student Center, serving meals to boarding students. Sometimes they closed the meals with a rendition of the national anthem, but not always.

“As part of our tomfoolery we composed a ‘school song,’ ” he recalled. “At the end of each meal session, several of us stood, at attention, at the door at the end of the food line, in our white aprons, with white paper hats in our hands, and sang our composition:

‘Regis, Regis College. Regis, Regis school song.

On the crest of the West!!’ And then we slammed the door.”

Recently, Loretta Notareschi, professor of music, led a composition seminar focused on college songs and seven students, all of whom have now graduated, wrote and composed five anthems to rally the Regis faithful.

You can listen to a recording of “Vive Regis!” and five student songs at regis.edu/songs.