Pomp and Circumstance


Much like a wedding would not be quite the same without the playing of “Here comes the Bride,” or “The Wedding March,” neither would commencement be the same without the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance.”   Dr. Oscar Dressler, professor of music, South Campus, played it with great vigor and artistry at our commencement on Friday.

The tune, originally called “March No. 1 in D,” was written by English romantic composer Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934), and the title was taken from Act III, Scene III of Shakespeare’s Othello:  “Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”  “The Graduation March,” as it became known, was first played as a processional tune on June 28, 1905 at Yale University where Elgar was invited to attend commencement and to receive an honorary Doctorate of Music.  The tune soon became compulsory as the processional at American graduation ceremonies, although it is used only as a recessional at Yale.  For details about Elgar’s life and a six-minute performance of the tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moL4MkJ-aLk.