Texas, Our Texas sheet music

The search for Texas’s official state song

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In 1924, Texas began its search to find an official state anthem. Two separate competitions over a five-year period elicited hundreds of songs for the State Legislature to choose from before Texas, Our Texas was officially adopted in 1929.

In 1924, Governor Pat Neff announced what would be the first of two contests to find Texas’s state anthem. Written and composed by William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright of Fort Worth, Texas, Our Texas was selected out of nearly 300 entries, but the competition stalled out in the State Legislature. Governor Dan Moody announced a second contest in 1927, which garnered more than 700 entries. Texas, Our Texas was again selected as the winner, earning Marsh and Wright a $1,000 prize. The song was officially adopted as the state song by the 41st Texas Legislature in 1929.

The lyrics were originally a poem written in 1918 by Gladys Yoakum Wright. She worked with composer William J. Marsh to turn her poem into a song for the state competition. Wright said, “I had never met Mr. Marsh, but I knew he wrote wonderful music. [He] was working on a patriotic melody but had not decided just what it should be. Together, we improved upon my original.” In the years since its adoption, the song has only been changed once — when Alaska became a state in 1959, Marsh changed the lyric “largest and grandest” to “boldest and grandest.”

Composer, musician, and professor William J. Marsh composed more than 100 works, mostly classical, operatic, and religious pieces. In addition to Texas, Our Texas, he is known for writing the official Catholic mass of the Texas Centennial as well as Flower Fair at Peking, the first opera written and produced in Texas. Marsh immigrated to Texas from England in 1904, calling Texas home until his death in 1971.

See this and other artifacts on the Interactive Texas Map

Texas, Our Texas sheet music Artifact from Dallas, TX
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