SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD -- Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School had a long-held tradition in the singing of the SPF Alma Mater, but about 30 years ago, that tradition faded away.
Through the vision of Dr. Joan Mast, Superintendent of Scotch Plains-Fanwood Schools, and the aid of the SPF Arts Integration Specialist, Barbara Prestridge, the Alma Mater has been brought back to life and will become known to all of the SPF students in the years to come.
"I am excited to bring this tradition of pride and unity back to Scotch Plains-Fanwood," Dr. Mast said. "The music department is working to reintroduce this musical piece to the choral and instrumental K-12 classes."
The first public unveiling of the Alma Mater occurred on Jan. 30, 2020, at a SPFK12 Board of Education meeting when the Park Middle School Blue Notes Select Choir sang the song under the leadership of Mrs. Jennifer Jenkins, Park Middle School Choral teacher and their student conductor, Miss Elorie Howell.
The Blue Notes were joined by seven SPFHS alumni, including teachers, parents, a principal, and a Board of Education member. The Alma Mater reached across and connected generations as they joined together in song. As a line from the Alma Mater says, “All to Here Belong”.
This week, a second rendition occurred when an instrumental arrangement was performed virtually. Nick Ellis, Instrumental teacher at Park Middle School has worked with members of the Park Middle School Jazz Ensemble during this time of at-home learning.
As seen in the video below, the students each played their instrument at home alone, recorded their part and then Mr. Ellis compiled their tapes into the full-part arrangement. Aligning the 28 instrumentalists was a technological challenge, but Mr. Ellis and his students accomplished it beautifully. Although the students were separated in time and space, the music united them as a group and their music unites us a community.
"Music fosters lifetime memories and builds the best in communities," Dr. Mast said. "This melody will invoke pride, joyful memories of school days and our united hope for the future.”
“Forward ever, be our watchword, Conquer and Prevail.
Hail to thee our Alma Mater, Scotch Plains-Fanwood all hail!”