Tuning in at the Legislature

Now that we’ve gotten the poet laureate problem solved in Minnesota, lawmakers are moving on to the state anthem. You know, the one we don’t have.

HF2961, which gets a hearing today at 4 p.m., creates a state anthem commission with the idea of having an official anthem in place by the end of the year.

Judging by the bill’s text, however, the fix is in for “Hail Minnesota,” which apparently is the most popular of all the songs about Minnesota that most people don’t know. While it is the state song, it is not the state anthem. And apparently we need a state anthem to sing, ummm, when?

Minnesota, hail to thee!

Hail to thee, our state so dear,

Thy light shall ever be

A beacon bright and clear.

Thy son and daughters true

Will proclaim thee near and far,

They shall guard thy fame and adore thy name;

Thou shalt be their Northern Star.

Like the stream that bends to sea,

Like the pine that seeks the blue;

Minnesota, still for thee

Thy sons are strong and true.

From the woods and waters fair;

From the prairies waving far,

At thy call they throng with their shout and song;

Hailing thee their Northern Star.

A similar version presently exists as the University of Minnesota hymn.

This, however, may have rough sledding. “Thy sons are strong and true?” Well, at least it didn’t say anything about them being able to carry a tune.

We are not alone in this endeavor. Massachusetts, for example, unable to agree on a state song, has seven of them instead, including the official polka of Massachusetts, “Say Hello to Someone from Massachusetts,” by Larry Gomulka. As if you didn’t already know.

I’ll tell you what, if you’d like to take a stab at an alternative version (for Minnesota, that is), send it along and I’ll try to scrounge up some prizes.

How about helping out by writing a state song?