MSU Shadows

MSU Shadows, arranged by joshua davis

MSU Shadows was officially adopted as the alma mater for Michigan State on April 21, 1949. Shadows was chosen by student vote after a long effort to identify and obtain a distinctive melody for the university.

There are many stories surrounding the roots of Shadows. One claim found online and in an old football program indicates the music was inspired in part by the opera Lucia di Lammermoor.

John Madden, Spartan Marching Band Director, clarified that there are two measures in Shadows that are similar to the opera’s sextet. He says you might also find the ending phrase reminiscent of the end of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

Joshua Davis is an MSU College of Arts & Letters graduate, former faculty member at the MSU Community Music School - East Lansing, and native of Michigan. He was also a finalist on the eighth season of NBC’s The Voice. This past summer we asked Joshua if he’d record his own version of the beloved Michigan State alma mater, MSU Shadows, with students from the University Chorale. Enjoy...

Photo of Joshua Davis singing MSU Shadows on Wharton Center stage with students

Listen to or download an mp3 of Joshua Davis’ MSU Shadows

Watch the MSU Shadows music video

Watch the making of the MSU Shadows video

sing along...

MSU, we love thy shadows
When twilight silence falls,
Flushing deep and softly paling
O’er ivy covered halls;
Beneath the pines we’ll gather
To give our faith so true,
Sing our love for Alma Mater
And thy praises, MSU.

When from these scenes we wander
And twilight shadows fade,
Our mem’ry still will linger
Where light and shadows played;
In the evening oft we’ll gather
And pledge our faith anew,
Sing our love for Alma Mater
And thy praises, MSU.