1937 : “My Michigan” Adopted As Official State Song

When:
May 21, 2020 all-day
2020-05-21T00:00:00-04:00
2020-05-22T00:00:00-04:00

“My Michigan” was adopted as an official state song on May 21, 1937.

The state Senate returned the bill about the official state tune on that day, after amending it from “the” to “a,” according to Robert Garrett of the state archives. The state House of Representatives had initially adopted the “the” bill on March 3, 1937.

The song, composed and written by Giles Kavanagh and H. O’Reilly Clint, was chosen because it “express(ed) the hopes, ambitions and pride of the people of the State of Michigan” and contained “the fine thoughts conveyed in the words and music of this lovely memorial to the State of Michigan,” the resolution explained.

Ironically, for being an official state anthem, the song is rarely sung and never used on formal state occasions. This may be because doing so would incur liability to pay a royalty. The State did not purchase or/and the authors would not sell the copyright, and neither was the song released into the public domain. Under current federal law, the song’s copyright will expire at the end of the 70th year following the deaths of its authors. There are two versions of the sheet music; one is held at the Rare Book Room at the Library of Michigan and the other is housed at the Bentley Historical Museum.

“My Michigan” should not be confused with the song “Michigan, My Michigan” by Douglas Malloch.

Sources:

Zlati Meyer, “Michigan adopts an official state song“, Detroit Free Press, May 15, 2015; updated May 17, 2015.

My Michigan : Michigan State Song, StateSymbolUSA.