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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Silver Lake school rediscovers its long-lost song

The centennial of Silver Lake's Micheltorena Street School came and went in 2005 without much notice. When a belated 100th-anniversary celebration was finally held last June, the event featured the singing of the long-lost school song and the rediscovery of other pieces of school history.

The school opened in December 1905 in a one-room bungalow staffed by one teacher who doubled as the principal, said Micheltorena school supporter Dorit Dowler-Guerrero, who has gone through four boxes of school documents to research Micheltorena's history, In a little more than a decade, more classes had been added and land was being purchased to expand the school. Much of the campus, however, was torn down in the wake of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, forcing classes to be held in tents for four years. "The Micheltorena moms clubs worked their butts off raising money and trying to get school construction bonds passed," said Dowler-Guerrero.

In a welcome surprise, a former student who apparently attended Micheltorena during the 1930s sent a copy of the four-line, Micheltorena song to the school, Dowler-Guerro said. When it came time to celebrate the school's centennial, Micheltorena music teacher Brian Bockelman wrote a new verse to complement the original song that was sung by the Micheltorena Chorus. It was the highlight of the celebration, according to the Los Feliz Ledger.

Here is song with the original and new versus:

Oh Micheltorena charming is thy name.
How we love to sing it spread abroad its fame.
Linked with California thus thy name appears.
Oh Micheltorena music to our ears."

(New lyrics)

Oh Micheltorena, for one hundred years,
How we love to sing it, sending out the cheers.
We are California, now as before,
Oh Micheltorena, one hundred years more.

Photo from Micheltorena Street School website

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