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Early Copy Of War Hymn Donated To Texas A&M

Susan "Sue" Owen '94 June 22, 2018 3:14 PM updated: June 26, 2018 9:10 AM

A niece of the Aggie War Hymn’s author presented her signed copy of the 1921 sheet music earlier this month to representatives of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

Photo by Amy Hale '10

Col. Jay O. Brewer ’81, senior associate director of the Aggie Band, and other leaders traveled to Georgetown, north of Austin, on June 8 to receive the presentation from Mary Alice Alberts in front of hundreds of Aggies at the Williamson County A&M Club’s annual scholarship Fish Fry.

Alberts played her uncle’s song for the cheering crowd:


2018 is the 100th anniversary of the song’s birth during World War I – truly, a war hymn. James V. “Pinky” Wilson, Class of 1920, had enlisted in the Marines while still a sophomore at A&M, and put the song together during lulls in the fighting, incorporating Aggie yells he had learned at A&M. Read more about how Wilson originated the song in the upcoming July-August 2018 issue of Texas Aggie, and learn a bit about all the pieces of music that make up the War Hymn medley here.

“Pinky” was born in 1897 near Florence, north of Georgetown, and his niece still lives in Williamson County. The sheet music is signed on the cover, “To my dear niece Mary Alice Wilson from J.V. ‘Pinky’ Wilson.”

This was the Williamson County A&M Club’s 26th annual Fish Fry. More than 100 volunteers signed up sponsors; battered and fried catfish; and served over a thousand meals to raise $47,500; after expenses, the event netted $39,000 to go directly into the Club’s scholarship program. The Club has 24 Williamson County students on scholarship at Texas A&M right now. The next Fish Fry is scheduled for June 7, 2019.

Brewer said the sheet music will be displayed prominently in the new Music Activities Center being built south of the Quad, expected to be complete for in time for students’ use in the fall 2019 semester.

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