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History of School Song

The following was researched by Mark Huang (1985), to the best of information available in May 2003. All comments or information on the following would be welcomed. Please email Mark Huang at [email protected].

According to Brother Herman Fenton, the oldest surviving Christian Brother living in LSC at the time of writing, the lyrics of our School Song was written by Brother Marcian James (1869 – 1938). However, regarding the origin of the melody, all that is known is the melody was supplied by Brother Cassian Brigant OBE, Principal of La Salle College 1946-1947 (lived 1886-1960) and that it is a French martial air. Anyone with connections to ask about olden French music, please see if someone could identify the piece.

Brother Marcian was the Principal of St. Joseph’s College, Hong Kong, in the early 1910s, as well as director of St Xavier’s Institution, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, and St. Michael’s Institute, Ipoh, Malaysia in different periods. Brother Marcian was born in Ireland on 31 August 1868, and he served many Christian Schools in Asia since the early part of the century. He passed away in 1938 in Hong Kong at the age of 70, and his remains are laid to rest in the Christian Brother’s mausoleum in Happy Valley.

With Brother Marcian’s masterly command of English, he wrote no less than three school songs / rallies for various Christian Brothers schools: St Michael’s Institution, Malaysia; St. Joseph’s College, Hong Kong; and of course La Salle College’s School Song (there may be more). Like reading various books of a favorite author, let’s have a look at the lyrics of other school songs written by Brother Marcian.

School Rally of St. Joseph’s College, Hong Kong:

All through our College a voice is resounding,
Promptly respond to your duty’s clear call.
Harken you all for the trumpet is sounding,
Your Mater’s proclaiming her watchword to all. (Chorus)

Forward, not flinch nor fear,
Ever with heart sincere,
Render with joy to your Mater her due;
All that is vile reject; Heaven will e’er protect,
Sons of St. Joseph’s valiant and true.

Labour and Virtue your motto still bearing,
Forward with courage in ways that are just
True to your standard be doing and daring,
As faithful Josephians in Heaven you trust. (Chorus)

Onward and upward in life’s earnest battle,
Joyously bearing the brunt of the fight,
Nobly forgiving for aught that may pain you,
And bravely defending the cause of the right. (Chorus)

Lift up your hearts for a Kingdom awaits you,
Honour and Virtue with courage defend;
Serve Him in life, who in death can reward you,
And vow to be faithful and true to the end. (Chorus)
School Rally of Saint Michael Institution, Ipoh, Malaysia
All through our College a voice is resounding
Promptly respond to your duty’s sweet call!
Harken you all for the trumpet is sounding
Your Mater’s proclaiming her watchword to all
Forward my children dear!
Ever with heart sincere
Render with joy to your Mater her due
All that is vile, reject
Heaven will e’er protect Sons of St. Michael’s.