Help town honor Victory March
Letter to the Editor | Monday, November 26, 2007
My wife and I have had the pleasure of visiting our daughter at Notre Dame over the past three years. Each visit reinforces for us that Notre Dame is a special place. This is not just because of the physical attributes, but more due to the intangibles derived from faith, loyalty, respect and enthusiasm. This contributes to a school spirit that is difficult to define, but you know it when you feel it.
During our visit this year, we took particular note of one contributing element to the Notre Dame Spirit: The Notre Dame Victory March. As members of the Shea Tribute Committee from western Massachusetts, the home of the composers Michael and John Shea, our ears and eyes were tuned to the role this song plays in fostering this sense of spirit. We noted that the Shea brothers’ motivating words jumped from walls of numerous buildings throughout the campus and the echoes of their song emanated from the quads, the Eck Center, the JACC and the stadium over the weekend.
The Victory March brings forth the Notre Dame spirit. The most powerful example of this for us came from the words of Coach Weis. During his pep rally speech, he spoke of the marching band coming to the football team’s practice following their tough loss to Navy the weekend prior. During their surprise visit, he stated the band played eighteen renditions of the Victory March, highlighting the song’s impact. Clearly, his men felt the spirit and the resultant practices were increasingly productive.
Michael and John Shea composed the Notre Dame Victory March and first played it in their home city of Holyoke, Mass., in 1908. Holyoke is also the home of the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the nation. What a fitting tribute to the contribution these men have made to Notre Dame it would be to have the Band of the Fighting Irish play their song down the parade route in their home city on its 100th anniversary. While Dr. Kenneth Dye feels that such a grandiose plan would not be possible, I invite the creative and cognitively-gifted Notre Dame ommunity to assist in developing a fitting tribute during the 2008 parade. The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has embraced our committee’s efforts to pay tribute to the Shea brothers and may be considering a Notre Dame graduate for their prestigious John F. Kennedy National Award. This will synergize our efforts to honor the Shea Brothers and Notre Dame.
So “rally sons (and daughters) of Notre Dame, sing her glory and sound her fame” by helping us pay a fitting tribute to these men in their home city, the birthplace of the Notre Dame Victory March. Go Irish!
Dave SheaShea Tribute Committee chairEasthampton, Mass.Nov. 11