It’s been a decade since its last public performance, but Arlington’s official song has now been recorded — and released on YouTube — for future generations.
The song is, well, a bit boring and dated, to be honest. But it is Arlington’s only official song and no one seems to eager to replace it.
The revival of the song has been spearheaded by county communications manager Peter Golkin. In December Golkin uploaded a scan of the sheet music — the first time the song has appeared on Arlington County’s website — and penned a press release recounting the County Board’s adoption of the song 45 years ago.
But back on the first Saturday morning of October 1970, a unanimous County Board deemed Ernest K. Emurian’s words and melody worthy of a place in Arlington’s official identity. Reasoning for such approval sits right there in the lyrics of the first verse: “[T]he songs of home are ones we really cherish/For home is the place we love the best.”
It was love in E flat and 4/4 time, consummated with a 10,000-copy print run funded by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, prime sponsor for the song’s adoption.
The composer, the Reverend Ernest Emurian, was already a local institution, a beloved and prolific man. Pastor of Cherrydale United Methodist Church, he had lived in the County for seven years before attempting his anthem for Arlington. The inspiration was his long-held belief that “if a place is worth living in, it is worth singing about.”
Golkin’s research suggests the last time the song was performed was at the opening of an Arlington Historical Society exhibit on county constitutional offices, in 2006. “VIPs listened politely but made no attempt to emulate the singing Board of ’70,” Golkin quipped.
Before that the song had been performed off and on at the Arlington County Fair, but was otherwise fading out of the public consciousness. That is, until now.
Among those performing the song in the video above are three members of the original teen chorus that serenaded the County Board before the song’s adoption in 1970. Also performing: three generations of Arlington’s Dodge-Strehle family, County Board aide Liza Hodskins and “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark, who also wrote about the song in December.
The full list of performers, in order from left to right, after the jump.
- Gail Smith Carten (in original group)
- Yvonne Gamble Deemer
- Liza Hodskins
- Elaine Gamble
- Charlie Clark
- Barbara Smith Deemer (in original group)
- Mary Dodge Strehle (in original group)
- Rev. Sarah Harrison-McQueen
- Sara Strehle Duke
- Virginia Snarr Dodge (Keyboard)
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