Most Memorable Camp Songs

Through all the Saginaw generations, original songs were the glue that held the summer camp experiences together.  The only given at camp was that we sang incessantly.  Often it was musical spontaneous combustion…it just happened without any prompting.

There were Hill and Acropolis Songs, Big Show Tunes, Color War Songs, Skit Songs, Bunk Songs, League Team Songs, Spirit Chants, Bus Songs, Campfire Songs, Gag Songs, and many with no particular purpose at all except to capture attention and entertain.

These songs often crossed many periods as valued hand-me-downs of Saginaw tradition, but each generation had some of their own originals to add to the aural tapestry.

Spirit Rally 2011
Just your run of the mill Spirit Rally during the Hill-IJ Game build up in 2011

So what are your most memorable camp songs?  Which are the ones that still cling like that persistent lint on a black shirt….just won’t leave your head once you hear the first few bars?

Give us your (5) personal most memorable camp songs and we will grow this musical scroll as far as it takes us.  Email submissions to:

moedweck@comcast.net

For your submissions, please give us:

-Type of song (Hill, Acropolis, Color War, Big Show, Bunk, League, Campfire, Bus, or any other designation)

-Song name or other reference to help others recognize it

-Year or decade when you think it originated

-What made this song memorable to you (share specific lyrics, tune, person who sang it, circumstances when it was sung)

-If you can dig up a songsheet of submission, please include it as a separate PDF.  If you can only remember a few stanzas, please type them up and include them as well.  We will link these lyrics to the listing so others can sing along with you.

This posting has the potential to link many generations of alums to each other so take a moment to share and send in a few of your Saginaw Musical Memories.

1966-jeff-cooper-and-berets
1966 Alumni Day Dell performance by Jeff Cooper and the Hill dressed in their maroon berets…the Hill introduced a new song that year to the tune of the popular Green Berets song of the era

 

Hill Songs

singing in the dining hall 2009
2009 Hillmen singing in the Mess Hall…nothing spurs an appetite more!

The Great Escape Fight Song (1964)- In the early sixties, Mickey Rothstein was the in-house lyricist for Hill songs.  When he brought this one to Zeus II Hank Aberman, he knew it was a slam dunk.

This was the first Hill song that required accompanying recorded music-the theme to The Great Escape-to have its full impact.  When the Hill men cranked up the Victrola and sang this, the Mess Hall shook as the rafters reverberated the lyrics.  It became the instant classic of all Hill Songs.

The key lines may be in the second verse because they capture the importance of “Hill Spirit motivating Hillmen to feats of glory.”

Spirit, we’re men of spirit

Together our foes will ever fear it

We sing our story

Of feats of glory

Hillmen of Camp Saginaw

For every generation of Hillmen, the Great Escape Fight Song has been the iconic oral expression of what the Hill is all about.

(This memory submitted by Moe Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics to the Great Escape Fight Song)

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Victory’s Our Byword (1960)- For some reason, this marching song had real swagger and made a huge impression on me as I came up through the IJ ranks.

It was delivered in a deep baritone voice by the Hillmen and the tone and the lyrics together really made the lower camp shudder when they heard it.

The lyrics are all about Hillmen’s unified voices….lifting skyward….ever growing….singing to let them hear us….every enemy will fear us!!!

The last stanza really emphasizes the Hill’s intimidation factor:

Worlds shake and tremble

As we gather to assemble

All ye men whose blood is red with fighting spirit

Fight for the banner of the Hill.

This song made a real mark on me and still delivers the pulse of the Hill Spirit that drove us to “conquer every foe.”

(This memory submitted by Moe Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics to the Victory’s Our Byword)

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Hill Alma Mater (1966)- With the long history of alma maters in Color War, it was evident that the Senior Hill had to have one of its own.  Written in the mid-sixties to the tune Edelweiss from the movie “The Sound of Music,” the flowing lyrics capture the warmth and camaraderie campers and counselors on the Hill feel for each other.

Warm golden memories ebb and flow,

ebb and flow forever

Songs of praise, happy days

Spent in friendship together

This Alma Mater has been sung at campfires, on bus rides, and in many a pagoda by Hillmen and Acropolis Women as well.  It is another signature song that spans generations of Saginaw Alums.

(This memory submitted by Moe Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics to the Hill Alma Mater)

We pieced together a fairly complete collection of Hill song lyrics from over the decades.  It might be time to close the door,  kick back, and sing up some memories.

(Click to see a collection of the lyrics of Hill Songs across the Ages)

 

Acropolis/Senior Girls Songs

Acropolis Spirit
2016 Acropolis-IJ Game….singin’ and a chantin’

 

As Sisters-Acropolis Alma Mater (1960s)- The Senior Girls had a wide array of Fight, Cheer, and Friendship songs that they sang all the time.  Spontaneous song sessions would occur while standing on their chairs in the Mess Hall, at sports events, in Russ Hall, or out in front of their bunks on the Palestra.  But singing sessions, especially campfires,  always ended with this Acropolis Alma Mater.

The song talks about friendships and happiness spending summers with each other and plays homage to the closeness of the Acropolis and the Hill.  It ends, as it should, with this pledge of loyalty:

Acropolis united, we’re pledged now to you

(This memory submitted by Elana Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics to the Acropolis Alma Mater)

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Senior Cheer (1960s)- This is one of many cheers that appears in the Acropolis song sheet collection from the 1960’s.  Themes are consistent in all of these-Spirit, Devotion, and Harmony-setting the pace to Victory.

These cheers might have been elicited on the sidelines of an Inter-Camp Game, hand-in-hand around a table in the Mess Hall, or just at an impromptu gathering in the Dell.

Anytime you heard them, the passion of the Senior Girls came through loud and clear.

(This memory submitted by Elana Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics to the Senior Cheer)

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Saginaw-Here’s To You (Late 1950’s)- This was apparently a ballad that was sung in the late 1950’s that seems to have been lost over the years.  The lyrics are beautiful and I am told the tune is as well.

We are not sure if it was a Color War Alma Mater or just a Senior Girls song.  If anyone has a recollection, please share more info about it.

Saginaw, you’ll always be

Our fondest memory

Bright years of harmony

Happy with you

 

Mem’ries of Red and Blue

And of all the friends so true

Through the years

We’re back anew

 

Saginaw, here’s to you.

(This memory submitted by Susan (Kipnis) Berson)

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Saginaw Good Night To You (1950s)- This was an all-purpose number sung around Girls Camp in the late 1950’s.  It was often sung at the end of evening activities and the lyrics are self-explanatory.

Good night, Good Night, I’ll see you in the morning

Good night, Good Night, I’ll see you when it’s dawning

Starlights and moon beams are shining on you

Soon you’ll be sleeping the whole night through

So now it’s time to say adieu

Saginaw Good Night to you.

(This memory submitted by Jackie (Abelman) Cohen)

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Senior Girls Song (1950s)- This was sung by the senior girls during this period.  Obviously the lyrics are more extensive so if you can help us out with that please share.

We are the girls of Saginaw

You hear so much about

The people stop to look at us

Whenever we go out…

(This memory submitted by Bobbie Steiner-Heiman)

We got our hands on a fairly complete catalog of Acropolis Songs from back in the day.  Get yourself a latte and a comfortable chair and hit the link below to sing along.

(Click to see the catalog of Acropolis Songs)

 

Spirit Songs and Chants

The Acropolis girls had a wide array of “Spirit Songs” which were essentially cheers that had to do with their bunks individually or the Senior Girls as a whole.  Many of them were more chants then songs, but they all conveyed the group spirit that pulsated within the Acropolis.

A few of the favorites:

Bunk S is the best

Honey, Honey Bunk S is the best

Babe, Babe Bunk S is the best

Better than all the rest

Honey, Babe a naw

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Flip get down, flip flip get down

Flip get down, flip flip get down

Our hands are high our feet are low

and this is how we jigalo

Jig a lo,  jig jig a lo

Jig a lo,  jig jig a lo

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So give a long cheer for senior girls we’re here to win again

Senior boys will fight but the girls will win

Senior girls, senior girls, senior girls

Our girls will stick together-sunshine or stormy weather

Cheer for the senior girls

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Unique to girls camp, there were also “pop-up” singing sessions that might happen after the power went out and sitting in the hot and humid bunks was intolerable.  Some bunks would circle up out front and sing the popular songs of the day from say Indigo Girls,  Joni Mitchell, Stephens Stills, and others.  Often the lyrics were adapted for their purposes.

To no one’s surprise, “Love The One You’re With” was a favorite and it had within it the appropriate Saginaw line:

And the eagle flies with the dove

(These memories submitted by Elana Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics of Stephen Stills “Love the one you’re with”)

 

Inter Songs

Inter Fight Song (1961)- In the early 1960’s, a budding rivalry was developing between the Inter Boys and the Hill at the hand of Barry Greene and his merry men.  One by-product was this fight song authored by Jimmy Korman.  Useful life was not long but you can see there was quality here.

Inter boys are still undaunted, banners to the sky are flaunted.

Daring hearts and brave are wanted, rally to the fray, tear the false asunder.

(Stomp, Stomp)

Trample foe men under

(Stomp, Stomp)

Rally to the fight.

(This memory submitted by Jimmy Korman)

 

Color War Songs

Banners 2
Colorful banners and songs made indelible Color War memories

Girls Blue Team Alma Mater (circa 1959-1960ish)- It was written to the ethereal tune of Hatikva, which would make me think the team had an Israeli theme.  The flowing lyrics fit the tune nicely.

We need some help with this one in that we don’t really know in what year it was  written nor the Girls Blue Team it was written for.

This is kind of like the Dead Sea Scrolls; we are missing key passages.  If you know some of the opening lyrics, we could use help there too.

The Alma Mater ends as follows:

The trees and hill around us so wondrous and green

Lend to the magic of a summer’s dream.

Our Camp Saginaw to you we will be true

Your memory will enter into all we do.

Round the campfire united we have pledged to thee

Our love and loyalty as glowing embers die

Our love and loyalty as glowing embers die

(This memory submitted by Jackie (Abelman) Cohen)

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Girls Alma Mater or Friendship Song (1960s)- Written to the theme song from the 1954 movie “The High and The Mighty“, “God Lifts Up His Palette” is a poetic Color War Alma Mater or Friendship Song from the early 1960’s.  The lyrics are from the best recollection of Sheri Lindner who shared this memory.  Their beauty and meaning are best described by her own words.

“What I love about this song, looking back, is how so many, at so young an age, were poets.  As we wrote songs and sang them, the language and rhythms of poetry became part of our DNA.

Whether we knew it or not, our singing of this poetry gave us the tools that would allow us to perceive the world and ourselves in it, forever, through this poetic lens.

This song uses metaphor and personification, as it captures not only the beauty of nature but the abiding feelings of love and friendship and the deep connections—to others and even to our best unfolding selves– that were forged at Saginaw.”

If you know the tune that accompanied this song or the year/team for which it was written, please let us know.  In the meantime, enjoy the beauty of the phrasing of “God Lifts Up His Palette” through the link below.

(This memory submitted by Sheri (Lipstein) Lindner)

(Click to see the lyrics of God Lifts Up His Palette)

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Girls Blue Team Cheer (Mid-1950s)- In this era, the Color War teams were just Red and Blue; they had no theme names yet.  The lyrics to this Color War cheer may seem generic,  but they still are a little coy.

It is another one for which we are not sure of the year or the team this represented.   So if you can add some information on it, please let us know.

What’s the color of our team Blue, Blue, Blue

What’s the color of our team Blue, Blue, Blue

The skies are blue, the lakes are blue

We’re going to make the Red Team blue

What’s the color of our team Blue, Blue, Blue

(This memory submitted by Bobbie Steiner-Heiman)

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Boys Blue Bolt Lightening Cheer (1958)- This was the first introduction of rap music to a songfest at Saginaw.  Apparently the cheer that had been written “sucked”, even though that word had not come into common use yet.  So in an act of desperation, at the last minute, they decided to chant-and not sing-the cheer.  Interestingly this delivery of the lyrics had a very island mood.

You take the crash of a symbol and the clang of a bell.

You add the wail of a trumpet for a Blue Team Yell.

Mumbo jumbo, chicken gumbo.  Voodoo, who do, blue do win.

(This memory submitted by Jimmy Korman)

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Boys Blue Team Alma Mater (1961)- This was a beautiful piece written by Morty Roberts that was sung to Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”  All we have are these lyrics:

When years have passed we will recall fond memories of Camp Saginaw.

Memories of Red and Blue, and of all our friends so true,

will bring back pleasant thoughts of you

(This memory submitted by Jimmy Korman)

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Girls Blue Frenchmen’s Friendship Song (1962)- This was written to the classic love song “When I Fall In Love” which was penned in 1952 by Victor Young and has been sung across generations by the likes of Doris Day, Nat King Cole, Celine Dion, and many others.

The lyrics are very moving as they talk about the two teams reuniting hand-in-hand, pledging loyalty to each other, “blended as one forever”.  Matched to the ethereal tone of the music, the words convey the spirit of friendship that is pervasive at Saginaw every summer.

If you are not familiar with the tune, search the Nat King Cole version of “When I Fall In Love” on YouTube and sing along with these lyrics to his rendition of the song.  It will definitely put you in a good place.

(This memory submitted by David Lipstein)

(Click to see the lyrics of the Blue Frenchmen’s Friendship Song)

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Boys Red Rebels Fight Song (1963)- From the first of many Red Rebels vs Blue Yankees Color War iterations, this fight song was sung to the tune of “Milk and Honey” and had a catchy syncopation that still resonates 50 years later.  When someone sent me this songsheet and I saw the lyrics, I could not stop singing it for days.

The opening verses snatch you:

Red Rebels forward 

Ever Mighty

Sabers are flashing

In the Golden Sunlight

……………

Banners are flying

Red spirits are climbing

For this is our victory day

Red Rebels forward

Smash the Blue Team

Glorious all the way!!

(This memory submitted by Moe Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics of the Red Rebels Fight Song)

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Event Songs

mid-1970sgoofy-day-girls
1976: Goofy Day girls singing

Goofy Day Donald Ducks Fight Song- (1971)  This themed co-ed team event which began in 1971 had plenty of opportunity for silliness and lots of singing and carrying on.  The original Goofy Day Fight Song was written by the talented duo of Alan Harris and Moe Dweck to the New Christy Minstrels’ tune “Green, Green.”  Relive the compelling lyrics through the link below.

(This memory submitted by Alan Harris)

(Click to see the lyrics of the original Donald Ducks Fight Song)

 

Big Show Tunes

grease-1973-with-stevie-pevner-marc-silverstein-harry-altman-and-andy
Grease in 1974: Stevie Pevner, Marc Silverstein, Harry Altman, and Andy Breslau

Guys and Dolls (1967)- This production starred many of our Saginaw thespian regulars of this period, but who can forget the melodic voice of Stuart Goldstein, as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, filling Saniford Hall with the lyrics of the opening song “Fugue for Tinhorns.”

I got the horse right here, the name is Paul Revere, and here’s a guy that says if the weather’s clear….Can do…Can do….this guy says the horse can do

Stuart regaled us with other memorable songs like “Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat” and “Guys and Dolls”.  Other notable numbers included “Luck Be A Lady” sung by Donald Gettinger as Sky Masterson, “A Bushel and a Peck” (Barbara Chaiken as Miss Adelaide) and “Sue Me” (Brian Redman as Nathan Detroit).

(This memory submitted by Moe Dweck)

(Click to see the lyrics to Fugue for Tinhorns)

 

Skit Songs

Nero Shapiro My Hero 2008  Scene 3
Brilliance of the script writing is evident as Nero Shapiro opens the production with:  “I am Nero, so what the hay, I am the hero of the play”

Nero Shapiro My Hero- (1950’s and On)  An original musical that had many memorable lyrics and tunes as well as individual performances for the ages.  From the mid-1950’s into the 1970’s and beyond, this was a Saginaw standard stage production.

Who can ever forget:

Black Jack: “Who’s that knocking at my door, who’s that knocking at my door?”

Nero replies:  “Open the door you villainous boor, it’s Nero Shapiro the Hero!”.

(This memory submitted by Jim Korman)

(Click to see the lyrics from the original script)

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1973-mr-miss-saginaw-winner-ira-deming-and-debbie-glaser
MC’s and past winners David Lipstein and Steffi Baer crown Debbie Glaser and Ira Deming Mr. and Miss Saginaw in 1973

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, one of the annual productions each summer was the Mr. and Miss Saginaw finale.  As part of this, past winners would participate in an array of skits and parodies to spice up the event.   The original “Old Mr. and Miss Saginaw Songs,” sung to popular tunes of the day like “King of the Road,” “She Loves You”, “Those Were The Days,” and “Side By Side,” were full of pokes and jabs at past winners and losers.

You will get a chuckle out of some of these lyrics.

(This memory submitted by David Lipstein)

(Click to see lyrics from Old Mr. and Miss Saginaw Songs)

 

Bunk Songs

Bunk J Alma Mater (circa ??)- There has been an annual tradition on the girls’ side for campers to author bunk songs.  The girls would compete in a songfest late in the summer where their entries were proudly performed. The form could be anything from a Cheer to a Friendship Song to an Alma Mater and the themes could be anything.

This one must have been from the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, but once you read the lyrics it is evident that it could have been written by any generation of Acropolis women.    It was sung to the tune “Look To The Rainbow” from the show Finian’s Rainbow.  The lyrics of this heartfelt Alma Mater were about relationships created and nurtured at Saginaw each summer.

(This memory submitted by David Lipstein)

(Click to see the lyrics of the Bunk J Alma Mater)

League Team Songs

Bus Songs

Campfire Songs

2010 Opening Campfire Speech
Opening Hill campfire 2010

Campfire Songs (1950s)- Campfire songs tend to reflect the sentiments of the times.  In reading the lyrics of these sung around the crackling flames in the late 1950’s, you can see what I mean.

Robbie Tessler would sing “The Seine” with his own ukulele accompaniment:

The Seine, the Seine

when will I again, meet her there,  greet her there

on the moonlit banks of the Seine

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Ed Itzeson (Uncle Itz) leading us in “The Titanic”:

Oh it was sad, it was sad,

it was sad when the great ship went down.

The husbands and wives, little bitty children lost their lives.

It was sad when the great ship went down.

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Eddie Hankin sang “Chocolate Ice Cream”- This was about a kid who is chased by a dog all over town and he drops his cone….with predictable result….your typical dog chases boy and gets ice cream cone story.  If you can recollect any of the words from this classic, please let us know.

(These memories submitted by Jimmy Korman)

 

 

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Help us grow this list of Most Memorable Camp Songs by submitting some of your favorites from your time at Saginaw. 

I promise you, just digging up the details for your submissions will make your day!

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