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    Virginia still without state song

    RICHMOND – Like judges on “American Idol,” a panel of legislators this week deliberated over a song – a tune that had been proposed as Virginia’s new state song.

    It didn’t make the cut.

    “At Home in Virginia,” a bluegrass ballad written by Richmond retiree Evi Bergin, got the boot from the House Rules Committee.

    Delegate Betsy Carr, D-Richmond, had proposed that “At Home in Virginia” be designated as “the official song of the Commonwealth.” Virginia has been without a state song since 1997, when the General Assembly retired “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” because of its racially offensive lyrics.

    Carr sponsored House Bill 833, which said Virginia “requires an official song that can be sung on all occasions with pride and affection” – a song that “should reference the rich tradition of the Commonwealth and invoke images of the natural and scenic beauty its citizens celebrate.”

    HB 833 recommended “At Home Virginia” for that honor. But on Tuesday, the committee tabled the bill on a voice vote.

    Bergin spent a decade crafting her song. She believes it is worthy to be the official state song.

    “I just kept writing and rewriting it until I got this song,” Bergin said. “It wants to encourage people; that’s why it’s good.”

    The song boasts of Virginia’s natural beauty – from honeysuckles and sunsets to “a cardinal that’s singing by the lacy dogwood tree.” It also highlights the commonwealth’s role in history and its nickname as “Mother of Presidents.”

    Carr is glad that Bergin and her song got an audition.

    “She is a very impressive individual and has been working on this song for about 10 years,” Carr said. “She certainly deserves a hearing, just like everyone else.”

    Now living in a retirement community in Richmond, Bergin, 67, has spent a lot of her time trying to make “At Home in Virginia” the official state song. She talks about her song as if it were her child.

    “I kept singing and changing it little by little for eight years, until I loved it,” Bergin said.

    Virginia had adopted “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” as the state song in 1940. It was written in 1878 by an African American minstrel, James Bland. The lyrics are in dialect and express nostalgia for the days of slavery. The final verse says: “Carry me back to old Virginny … There’s where this old darkey’s heart am long’d to go.”

    African Americans and many other people considered the lyrics offensive. In 1997, legislators made “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” the state’s “official song emeritus.” Since then, they have been searching for a new state song.

    Comments

    I love this article!


    how about “La Bamba”
    seems to fit northern va.


    WGAF?


    For me the song, “Carry Me Back To Old Virginia” will always and forever be the Virginia State Song. There will never be another. The song is beautiful and clearly indicates that the writer dearly loved the State of Virginia.


    I thought we were a commonwealth.


    Really?  A State song?  Well, how about asking Tom “I Lie on My Campaign Forms All The Time” Dunn or Katie “What’s A Brain” Hammler to get together and write something. I can see it now.  Crooks and Brainless, running the world as one.  Oh, but maybe that’s a bad idea.  After all.  Tom “I’m Also A Walking Conflict Of Interest” Dunn might not like being lumped in with anyone else.  Tom “The Accountant” Dunn would probably like singing solo on Crooks and Brainless.


    How about “Virginia, No One Can Warn You” by Tift Merritt ?  Youtube it.


    I say we make AC/DC Back in Black the State Song.

    Back in black
    I hit the sack
    I’ve been too long I’m glad to be back
    Yes I’m, let loose
    From the noose
    That’s kept me hanging about
    I keep looking at the sky
    ‘Cause it’s gettin’ me high
    Forget the herse ‘cause I’ll never die
    I got nine lives
    Cat’s eyes
    Usin’ every one of them and running wild


    Who freaking cares?  Focus on something that matters.


    That’s a nice story, but how does a state song create jobs?

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