Sunday, May 8, 2011

Anchors Aweigh Charles Adams Zimmermann

Words by CAPT Alfred H. Miles, USN Music by 2LT Charles A. Zimmermann, USMC.

2LT Charles Adams Zimmermann, USMC, a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, had been selected as the bandmaster of the Naval Academy Band in 1887 at the age of 26. His father, Charles G. Zimmermann, had played in the band during the Civil War years. Early in his career, Bandmaster Zimmermann started the practice of composing a march for each graduating class. By 1892, "Zimmy", as he was affectionately known by the midshipmen, became so popular that he was presented with a gold medal by that year's class.

More gold medals followed as Zimmermann wrote a march for each succeeding class. Midshipman First Class Alfred Hart Miles, a member of the Class of 1907, approached Bandmaster Zimmermann with a request for a new march. Miles and his classmates "were eager to have a piece of music that would be inspiring, one with a swing to it so it could be used as a football marching song, and one that would live forever." Supposedly, with the two men seated at the Naval Academy Chapel organ, Zimmermann composed the tune and Miles set the title and wrote the two first stanzas. This march, "Anchor's Aweigh", was subsequently dedicated to the Academy Class of 1907.

Anchors Aweigh Charles Adams ZimmermannTo fill vacant officer billets in the fleet, the Class of 1907 graduated in three sections, with the first graduation held in February 1906. This placed the Class Supper in October 1905 and as was the tradition, it is possible that the Class March, “Anchors Aweigh” was performed that night. The first mention of a performance of “Anchors Aweigh” was at the Class of 1907 Farewell Ball on February 12, 1906. This march was played by the band and sung by the brigade at the 1906 Army-Navy football game, and for the first time since 1900, Navy won. Midshipman Royal Lovell, Class of 1926, wrote a third stanza. Later, George D. Lottman wrote the popular verses that were widely used until 1997 when the Master Chief of the Navy, John Hagen, slightly revised these verses to be more inclusive of all naval personnel.

No original manuscript of “Anchor's Aweigh” has been found. The oldest known manuscript is a full band arrangement by 1LT Adolf Torovsky, USMC dated 1926. It is currently held in the U.S. Naval Academy Archives.

This IMAGE (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 (in this case 1906) are now in the public domain.

TEXT CREDIT: US Naval Academy Band

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