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March 20, 2015

Pomp and Circumstance

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Did you know that "Pomp and Circumstance" or "The Graduation March" as it is commonly referred to became a tradition because of a friendship? It is played as a processional tune at virtually all high school and some college graduation ceremonies. The first time it was played was at such a ceremony in June of 1905, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Professor of Music Samuel Sanford had invited his good friend Edward Elgar to attend the commencement and also receive an honorary doctorate of music from the school. Elgar accepted, and in his honor, Sanford had his musicians play "Pomp and Circumstance" March No. 1 as the students did their procession. The tune proved to be extremely popular and soon became customary at American graduations, used primarily as a processional at the opening of the ceremony even today over 100 years later! It's funny that we follow some traditions just because they're traditions, without thinking about why or if we should still follow them. It's important to honor traditions but not be bound by them. The old makes way for the new. The old tree dies and in its place, new ones grow.