The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Fight Song, “Fort Smith Pride,” will have its world premiere performance during the halftime show of the UAFS men’s home basketball game at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. The men’s and women's teams will be competing against St. Mary’s that day as UAFS celebrates its 2019 Homecoming, “Lions of the Galaxy,” at the Stubblefield Center.
The UAFS Symphonic Band, Athletic Band and Chorale will perform the premiere under the direction of Dr. Alexandra Zacharella, director of bands, and Dr. Tommy Dobbs, athletic band director. Well-known wind band composer Brian Balmages was commissioned to write the words and music for the new fight song.
“This project has been a long time in the making,” said Dr. Zacharella. “Since 2007 it has been clear that we here at UAFS needed our own unique fight song, a sentiment that would be echoed in 2016 by our university student body."
The effort to create a unique fight song for UAFS began as a Student Government Association resolution under the leadership of past SGA president Austin Lloyd and has continued through the work of SGA Chief of Staff Michael Lay, a senior media communication major, and current SGA President Luke Barber.
The commissioning of the song has come to fruition with support from university administrators including Interim Chancellor Dr. Edward Serna, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Lee Krehbiel and a number of others.
The Fight Song Committee is comprised of UAFS faculty members Dr. Christopher Barrick, head of the Department of Music; Dr. Alexandra Zacharella, director of bands; Dr. Tommy Dobbs, athletic band director; and Ava Earnhart, a freshmen music major and SGA representative.
“The committee was thrilled to have Brian Balmages, a well-known composer of wind band music, take on the project,” said Dr. Zacharella. Balmages said he wanted to compose a fight song that was unique to Fort Smith and that the lyrics and music were composed to build an everlasting tradition of “Fort Smith Pride.”