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A Song For Michigan

 

 
 

Many citizens of the State of Michigan consider "Michigan, My Michigan" to be their unofficial state. This situation may have arisen, in part, because of the mistaken belief that Michigan does not have an officially sanctioned song to fulfil that role. And yet such a song does exist and what is more the words were composed by a Kavanagh.

In June 1936 Governor Fitzgerald nominated the song "My Michigan" composed by H. O'Reilly Clint and with lyrics by Giles Kavanagh to be the official song of the State of Michigan. Fitzgerald and others felt that the words of the song reflected the aspirations and ambitions of the people of the state and was therefore eminently suitable to be the authorized song. On February 2nd 1927 the House of Representatives passed House Concurrent Resolution No. 17:

Whereas, The words and music in the song "My Michigan," as composed and written by Giles Kavanagh and H. O'Reilly Clint, express the hopes, ambitions and pride of the people of the State of Michigan; and

Whereas, On June 18, 1936, Governor Frank D. Fitzgerald designated "My Michigan," as the official song of the State of Michigan, in true recognition of the fine thoughts conveyed in the words and music of this lovely memorial to the State of Michigan; now therefore be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the 1937 Michigan Legislature designates and adopts "My Michigan," as the official song of the State of Michigan.

The concurrent resolution was referred to the Committee on Rules and Resolutions.

The resolution now passed to The Committee on Rules and Resolutions and on the 3rd of March 1937 it found:

The Committee on Rules and Resolutions, by Mr. Berka, Chairman, reported House Concurrent Resolution No. 17.

A concurrent resolution designating and adopting "My Michigan," as composed and written by Giles Kavanagh and H. O'Reilly Clint, as the official song of the State of Michigan.

With the recommendation that the resolution be adopted.

The question being on the adoption of the concurrent resolution,

The concurrent resolution was adopted.

Having passed the scrutiny of the Rules and Regulations committee the resolution next passed to the Senate. For some reason the Senate altered the text of the resolution, to include the following:

A concurrent resolution designating and adopting "My Michigan," as composed and written by Giles Kavanagh and H. O'Reilly Clint, as the official song of the State of Michigan.

The following are the amendments made to the resolution by the Senate:

1. Amend the title of the concurrent resolution, line 2, after the word "as" by striking out the word "the" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "an"

2. Amend the second Whereas Clause, line 2, after the word "as" by striking out the word "the" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "an"

3. Amend the Resolving Clause, line 3, after the word "as" by striking out the word "the" and inserting in lieu thereof the word "an"

The message informed the House of Representatives that the Senate had adopted the resolution as so amended.

The question being on concurring in the amendments made to the resolution by the Senate.

The amendments were concurred in.

With the new text passed by the senate the amended resolution returned to the House Of Representatives where it was duly accepted on May 21st, 1937 and this step completed the official adoption of "My Michigan" as a state song of Michigan. Quite why the Senate had chosen to reject the wording "the official song" and alter it to read "an official song" is unclear. What is clear is that as the only song currently sanctioned as a state song "My Michigan" is, de facto, The Sate Of Michigan. 

Giles worked as a reporter on the Detroit News and became a close acquaintance of Frank Fitzgerald while covering the latter's run for Governor. Following his subsequent election Fitzgerald appointed Giles as a privy councilor.

The family of Giles Kavanagh has strong ties to Michigan. Giles was the father of Justice Thomas Giles Kavanagh who served on the Supreme Court of Michigan.

 

With thanks to the Michigan Historical Centre