Out with the old

The BVNW music department and students have been spending their time in quarantine making a new Alma Mater.


Lyricist Charles Anothy Silvestri, composer Kurt Knecht and northwest students and staff discuss the new Alma Mater over a Zoom call.

Kathryn Case, Writer


Due to the lack of widespread knowledge of the Alma Mater among the Northwest community, choir teacher Elizabeth Richey-Sullivan said it was time for a new one to be written and composed.
“We never sing the old [Alma Mater] and it’s never sung at games,” Richey-Sullivan said. “It’s really outdated, kinda archaic and we just needed a fresh one. We have so many great traditions at Northwest and it would be wonderful to have a song that unifies all of that together.”
In order to make this happen, Richey-Sullivan said she selected students to be on a leadership panel who she believes represent Northwest well. One of these students is senior Abram Strickland, who said he is grateful to be a part of the process.
“It’s upsetting being a senior and having my year taken away, so knowing that I’m helping make the Alma Mater… is honestly worth losing my senior year, because I know I’m going to be part of the legacy for many years” Strickland said.
Along with the students’ help, Richey-Sullivan said she also hired a lyricist, Charles Antony Silvestri, and composer, Kurt Knecht, to assist with the making of the new Alma Mater.
The leadership panel and the music department met with the lyricist and composer over Zoom in order to help them understand what makes BVNW different from other schools.
“We’re trying to make it unique to the school and not to some generic message about unity and dignity because every school has that,” Strickland said. “We’re trying to really focus on what makes Northwest unique.”
Once the chorale is written, Richey-Sullivan said the choir is then going to learn the four-part music, in addition to the band and orchestra. Each student is then going to record themselves from home digitally and then all the files will be pieced together.
“The whole music department’s really trying to push for people to actually know the whole song and make it something that is a part of the community for many years to come,” Strickland said.
Proud of the work they have done, Knecht said composing the Alma Mater was a lot of fun and he has high hopes for the new one.
“I hope that it’s going to be a meaningful thing for people to sing for years and years to come… the music faculty certainly likes the new one a lot,” Knecht said.