Peabody alum's composition wins Johns Hopkins school song contest

'Truth Guide Our University' selected in voting by JHU community

Video: Performed by The Vocal Chords

When Erik Meyer set out to create a fresh school song for his alma mater, he hoped to unite Johns Hopkins University generations past and present with a timeless composition.

Image caption: Erik Meyer

So, he looked to "The Johns Hopkins Ode" and thought, how can I enliven this?

He tinkered with the original lyrics, trimming them down and adding syllables, to craft a memorable song rooted in Hopkins' tradition. A collegiate, easy-to-sing adaption of The Ode emerged.

"It's important that we connect ourselves with people of the past," says Meyer, a 2004 Peabody graduate. "We're part of a tradition."

Meyer's "Truth Guide Our University—The Spirit of JHU" was recently named winner of the JHU Song Contest, having received the most votes of the five finalists chosen by a selection committee. "The Hopkins Black and Blue," composed by Peabody undergraduate Tariq Al-Sabir, was a close second, organizers said.

Thousands voted in the contest, which kicked off in September with a call for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to submit original arrangements. Meyer answered, enlisting the help of a quartet to record the composition.

"I hope that the song finds a place in people's hearts and minds and that it can inspire the things that a song like this is supposed to inspire," said Meyer, a professional performer who only recently tried his hand at composing, adding that he "is still riding on the joy of winning."

Meyer's song will be incorporated into JHU's universitywide commencement ceremony on May 21.

"We set out to create a song that captured who we are—past, present and future—and the winning song hits all the right notes," Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels said. "I'm grateful to everyone who participated and truly delighted by the outpouring of creativity, inspiration, and Hopkins spirit from across our university."

Truth Guide Our University–The Spirit of JHU

Truth guide our university,
 and from all error keep us free.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
 and may our scholars' spirits soar,
Their souls for light forever burn,
 send forth thy fire, that they may learn;
And let their faithful teaching be:
 the truth alone can make us free.
May wisdom be our nobler aim,
 and learning set our hearts aflame,
And let our watchword ever be:
 the truth for aye shall keep us free!