Chorus teacher R. Watson Dutton composed the distinctive Alma Mater and fight song for North Miami Senior High in 1956. Where many high schools created lyrics around the folk tune “High Above Cayuga’s Waters”, Mr. Dutton’s composition is unique and very closely identified with the school. The Alma Mater, as originally written was:
Oh! Hail to thee, our Alma Mater
For in our hearts we sing to thee…
O’er the fair Atlantic shore
The sun fills each new day
With bright hopes now and more each morrow
For the Green and Gray!
To thee we pledge our loyalty, to thee our minds and hearts
From thy radiant Green and Gray
Our love will ne’er depart!
Hail to North Miami hail to North Miami, hail… to… thee!
The introduction of the Alma Mater was originally sung in choral arrangements in the 1950s and 1960s but later fell into disuse. Sometimes, this introduction was sung as a bridge before the verse was repeated. The coda (“Hail to North Miami…”) is normally only sung in orchestral and band arrangements of the Alma Mater. Most published versions of the Alma Mater’s lyrics only include the verse.
Not much is known about the origins of the fight song, these are the lyrics:
Fight, fight you Pioneers!
We’re gonna drive right through that line!
We’re gonna hit ‘em high, we’re gonna hit ‘em low
Show ‘em that we’re gonna go… go… go!
And then we’ll forge on to victory
And we’ll be sure the whole world hears
We’ve got the best team in the land
At North Miami, the Pioneers!
An instrumental bridge is played before the verse of the fight song was repeated.
Over the years the lyrics of both the Alma Mater and fight song were modified – some would say ‘corrupted’ – largely because of word-of-mouth other than maybe band and chorus students who had copies of the printed sheet music and lyrics most students accepted the lyrics as they heard them performed. The above lyrics for both the Alma Mater and fight song are correct as originally written by the late Mr. Dutton, and verified by 1950’s North Miami alumni, as well as a 1960 and 1970 recording of both songs.
Traditionally, all students, faculty and alumni stand during the playing of the Alma Mater, raising their arms high and linking them with their pinky fingers the index finger is extended, symbolizing that together we are one as Pioneers. All sway from side to side to the slow tempo of the Alma Mater as it’s played.
(Excerpted from 'A Brief History of North Miami Senior High School' by Charles E. (Chuck) Corway. Copyright (c) 2005 Charles E. Corway. All rights reserved. Research and writing of this historical booklet is still in progress.)