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Published May 24, 2011, 07:36 PM

Central High Band Connects With School Song Composer, 88

The Grand Forks Central high school band Tuesday met the man who wrote a song they play all the time. 88-year-old Raymond Anderson wrote the school's song more than 60 years ago.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

The Grand Forks Central high school band Tuesday met the man who wrote a song they play all the time. 88-year-old Raymond Anderson wrote the school's song more than 60 years ago.

Using the internet video calling service Skype, more than 50 band members met Raymond Anderson from his retirement community in Washington, D.C.

"We play it so often, all the time," Central senior Shane Harlow said.

"We pep rally it at all the sporting events, so it's really interesting to see where it all started," senior Jacy Thibert said.

It all started with Ray Anderson. He was hearing Central's band play the fight song via Skype from a Washington, D.C. nursing home. He wrote the music and lyrics while attending Central in the 1930's. It was part of a contest to find a school song.

"I just came up with the song and I didn't dream I would win. There must have been hundreds of entries," Anderson said.

Anderson said he won $10 for the song, but the song is priceless now as it is part of a Central tradition.

Anderson talked with students about his memories of Central and how he would later make a career in the military. But at 88 years old it's the music that stayed with him.

"Learn your music and use them instruments. A lot of people need to hear some music. Music make their hearts warm," Anderson said.

Anderson's visit may have never have happend if not for Central's band teacher Christie Aleshire. She set the meeting up after she received a letter from Anderson.

"I thought, 'I need the kids to see this. I need the kids to know who this person is,' because you don't know how long people are around," Aleshire said.

Band student Shane Harlow says this is something he won't forget.

"He's a really cool guy. He's sweet and he was laughing. I hope I'm that cool when I'm older," Harlow said.

The band played a couple of versions of the school song Ray wrote some 60 years ago. And while he might be a few thousand miles away, he is a little closer to the historic mark he left at Central high school.

"It's a nice band there, you know. I'm proud of you all," Anderson said.

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