Maryland University Bans a Song No One Even Knows, Because It’s Confederate

Brittany M. Hughes | August 29, 2017
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The University of Maryland marching band is nixing a song from its repertoire that no one even knows, simply because it’s got ties to the Confederacy.

In a move that’s apparently more symbolic than effective, the Mighty Sound of Maryland says it will no longer be playing “Maryland, My Maryland,” a nine-verse ballad set to the tune of O Tannenbaum (also known as "O, Christmas Tree"), because the song was originally based on a poem written during the Civil War to commemorate the South’s fight against the North.

Of course, now seems like a good time to point out that a marching band only plays the tunes of songs, and traditionally does not include the words. 

The Baltimore Sun reports, “University spokeswoman Katie Lawson said the band decided to suspend playing the controversial tune to “evaluate if it is consistent with the values of our institution at this time.”

The lyrics to the song are pretty direct, with some verses referring to the South’s enemy as “northern scum” and pointing to President Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant and a despot.

However, when one hears the song without the words, as it would traditionally be performed by a marching band in the bleachers, it simply sounds like O Tannenbaum. Which, frankly, is probably what most people within earshot would assume it to be.

In fact, a couple students told the local CBS affiliate they’re not even sure what the song sounds like, much less what the lyrics to all nine verses are, adding they don’t really care one way or the other whether the marching band plays it or not.

“To be honest, I don’t even know what the tune is. I’d be more upset if they didn’t play the fight song, I think,” said University of Maryland student, Chris Rogers, according to the report.

But rather than quietly removing the song from its marching band lineup, which would have solved the supposed problem and left no one the wiser, the University of Maryland made sure their grand gesture didn't go unnoticed, issuing a statement to the press regarding their ongoing efforts toward inclusivity by canning a 150-year-old poem set to the tune of a Christmas carol, whose lyrics are never heard and whose existence already goes completely unnoticed.

Gold star for you, Maryland.

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