More than 80 U.S. schools play Oxford High fight song to honor community, students

The Detroit News

More than 80 school bands, orchestras and choirs across the U.S. have performed the Oxford High School fight song to honor the school where four students were killed in a mass shooting on Nov. 30.

The performances have included students from Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, according to a release from Oxford Community Schools. The schools have posted videos of the performances on social media.

Oxford High School student Somer Lach created a YouTube video of snippets of other schools’ performances to make a full fight song.

“Many different bands, many different styles, and many different places. All of them playing the same piece of music. All having the same drive. All having the same fight,” Lach said. “No matter where us band kids are or how old we are or how experienced we are, we can always come together to create something beautiful like this in a time of need and tragedy.”

Oxford High School Band Director Jim Gibbons and middle school Band Director Brad Schmaltz shared the music for the fight song with other school districts after being contacted by a band director who wanted to express support but wasn’t sure what would be appropriate.

“I get emotional every time I hear one,” Gibbons said of the videos. “This is a very busy time in the band world because they’re working on their holiday concerts. But they’ve taken time out of that to learn our fight song and play it for us, as well as their own communities. It’s just overwhelming for us.”

The Oxford fight song was written in 1944 by an Oxford High School student and is played as the last bell of the school day.

“The videos have been so beautiful to see,” said Marissa Weller, Oxford High’s orchestra director. “All of these different bands, styles, and places playing the same piece of music, joining in our same fight, is extremely heartening. It’s a reminder that we can come together to create something beautiful in a time of need and tragedy.”

Weller said many people have reached out asking how to help music students at Oxford, and she created an Amazon wish list for her students, including coloring books and journals.

More than 500 packages have been delivered for students with items from the wish list.

“Our aim is to allow students to process their trauma even if they are out of town and we can’t all be together, to remind them of their music family at Oxford,” Weller said. “The music and band classrooms are a little different; it’s a very collaborative community, and a lot of these students have been in the same classes together for years. You can feel the bond. To see that extend to other programs across the state and country has been overwhelming.”

Marshall Music Co., which supplies and repairs instruments for the district’s students, has posted a wish list on its website for anyone interested. Supplies purchased will be donated to students.