College Yell March Two-Step. Dedicated to all Colleges.
Three cheers for the Cheer Boys
Before there were mass-market movies about competing cheerleader squadrons in California comprised primarily of young screaming women, there were the “Cheer Boys.” (You can look it up.)
According to Sounds for the Silents: Photoplay Music from the Days of Early Cinema, edited by Daniel Goldmark, “College Yell” was John Stepan Zamecnik’s first published work.
John Stepan Zamecnik (1872–1953) was an American composer and conductor. He is best known for the music he scored for photo-plays during the era of silent films. Grove Music informs:
Born to parents of Czech descent, he studied in the late 1890s with Antonin Dvořák at the Prague Conservatory, where he was a classmate of Jan Kubelik. Zamecnik returned to the United States, played second violin in the Pittsburgh Symphony under Victor Herbert, and was a member of numerous ensembles in Cleveland, including the Cleveland SO, which performed his Slavonic Fancies in 1900. In 1907 Zamecnik began work as the musical director and composer for the Cleveland Hippodrome, a 3548-seat theater that opened on 30 December 1907. Zamecnik provided music for two shows, Coaching Days and Cloud Burst, in the opening production. He wrote music for several other productions, working with established revue composers William J. Wilson and R.H. Burnside. Around this time Zamecnik also joined Cleveland’s Hermit Club, a local performing arts fraternity, writing music for five of the group’s annual revues, one of which was produced as a musical, The Girl I Love (1911), in Chicago at the La Salle Opera House.
In 1908 Zamecnik published his first work, “College Yell,” with Cleveland-based Sam Fox [emphasis ours]. He quickly became the company’s primary composer and arranger; a 1919 article describes him as having been “musical editor on the staff of the Sam Fox Company since 1914. . . .” The dual role of composer and editor explains the hundreds of publications, mostly instrumentals, that bore his name, as well as those that carried one of more than a dozen pseudonyms he used, including Jules Reynard, Dorothy Lee, and Lionel Baxter. Zamecnik is best known for his work in music for early films, primarily in two areas: photoplay music and theme songs. Sam Fox was one of the first publishers to produce original photoplay music; Zamecnik composed four volumes of music for piano, Sam Fox Moving Picture Music, five volumes of the Sam Fox Photoplay Edition (for mixed ensembles), and countless other collections for various forces…Zamecnik moved to California in 1924, ostensibly to be closer to the movie industry to which he dedicated most of his efforts. He remained on staff with Sam Fox, although his output lessened considerably. One of his late works was well known in the sound era: the “World Events March” became the theme for Fox Movietone newsreels beginning in the 1930s.
A colorful artifact, College Yell is the first published work of this Cleveland-born American music composer; composed at the beginning of Zamecnik’s exceedingly prolific career as a band and orchestral arranger.
Description: College Yell March Two-Step. Dedicated to all Colleges.
Cleveland: Sam Fox. Pub. Co., . Sheet Music. pp. Light wear, separation along spine.
Five 5 locations in America. Ref. Goldmark (ed.) Sounds for the Silents: Photoplay Music from the Days of Early Cinema (Courier, 2013). Grove Music.