Graduation March Song

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March No. 1 is sometimes known simply as “the graduation song”.

Edward Elgar, the composer, composed five Marches, called the Pomp and Circumstance Marches.

This music is irrevocably associated with graduation ceremonies.

I hope to give you the details you need on the Graduation March, including the lyrics, sheet music, video and trivia. 

Graduation March Song

Links to the easy piano arrangement of "March No. 1".

  • Sheet 1 of 3

  • Sheet 2 of 3

  • Sheet 3 of 3

  • Click here if you would like to listen to the music.

  • Graduation March Song Lyrics

    Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned. 
    God make thee mightier yet! 
    On Sov'reign brows, beloved, renowned,
    Once more thy crown is set. 
    Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
    Have ruled thee well and long; 
    By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained, 
    Thine Empire shall be strong. 

    Land of Hope and Glory, 
    Mother of the Free, 
    How shall we extol thee,
    Who are born of thee? 
    Wider still and wider 
    Shall thy bounds be set; 
    God, who made thee mighty, 
    Make thee mightier yet 
    God, who made thee mighty, 
    Make thee mightier yet. 

    Thy fame is ancient as the days,
    As Ocean large and wide 
    A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
    A stern and silent pride 
    Not that false joy that dreams content 
    With what our sires have won; 
    The blood a hero sire hath spent 
    Still nerves a hero son. 

    Graduation March Song Video

    Enjoy a remix of the music!

    Graduation March Song Trivia

    graduation march song trivia

    Edward Elgar, the composer, composed five Marches, called the Pomp and Circumstance Marches. March No 1 is the best known and had its premiere in London in 1901. 

    (In 1902 it was modified for the Land of Hope and Glory section of the Coronation Ode for King Edward VII.)

    In USA, March No. 1 is the graduation song. It was first played at a graduation ceremony on June 28, 1905, at Yale University, where the Professor of Music invited his friend Elgar to attend commencement and receive an honorary Doctorate of Music.
    The graduates and officials marched out to Pomp and Circumstance March No1.

    The impression that the work had on the assembled audience led to its gradual adoption by other prestigious American universities: Princeton in 1907, Chicago in 1908, Columbia in 1913, Vassar in 1916 and Rutgers in 1918. By the mid-1920's it was being performed by many others, and today it is heard at graduation ceremonies throughout the country, both at colleges and at high schools.

    The Graduation Song seems to have a triumphant feel mixed with nostalgia. A perfect fitting for a commencement that marks the end of one journey and the start of another. 

    Pomp and Circumstance - The title is taken from Act III of Shakespeare's Othello:

      "Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump, 
      The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife, 
      The royal banner, and all quality, 
      Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!".

    Pomp and Circumstance was the signature tune for the entrance of New York Yankees relief pitcher Sparky Lee into ballgames.

    Harry Houdini the legendary magician and escapologist used the graduation march as his entrance theme.

    Elgar himself conducted four recorded performances of Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 (the graduation song). The first was during his second acoustic recording session, on 26 June 1914. Elgar’s first complete recording took place during his first session with the new electrical recording system, on 27 April 1926 at the Queen’s Hall. On 12 November 1931, Elgar performed the trio by itself with the London Symphony Orchestra for the opening of EMI’s Abbey Road studios. On 7 October 1932, Elgar re-recorded the first two marches with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Kingsway Hall for a special Christmas release that year.

    The 1914 recording of the song is still available on CD (CDS 9951/5).

    (Source: Wikipedia and

    Elgar Trivia

    Elgar Trivia

    Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO was born on 2 June 1857 in the small village of Lower Broadheath outside Worcester, England. He lived until 23 February 1934.

    Elgar's interests extended to sport and to science. During the 1890's, he watched Wolverhampton Wanderers soccer team.

    The house in Lower Broadheath where Elgar was born is now a museum devoted to his life and work. There is a statue of him at the end of Worcester High Street.

    He was the first composer to make extensive recordings of his own compositions. TheGramophone Company recorded much of his music acoustically from 1914 onwards and then began a series of electrical recordings in 1926 that continued until 1933.

    Between 1900 and 1931 Elgar received honorary degrees from the Universities of Cambridge, Durham, Leeds, Oxford, Yale (USA), Aberdeen, Western Pennsylvania (USA), Birmingham and London. 

    In UK, the Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 is played at the Last Night of the Proms(as well as being the famous graduation song), while at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph in London, 'Nimrod' from his Enigma Variations is performed by massed bands.

    Some other Church and Ceremonial Music by Elgar:

    • Ave Verum Corpus, Ave Maria, Ave Maris Stella, Op 2 (1914)

    • Coronation March for orchestra, op 65 (1911)

    • Coronation Ode, Op 44 (1902)

    • Eleven Vesper Voluntaries for organ, op 14 (1889)

    • Empire March for orchestra (1924)

    Graduation March Song - Your Opinion

    The Graduation March song, I think gives a real sense of occasion to Commencement Ceremonies. There is a feeling of the history of graduation and the great importance of the occasion. But what do you think? Please leave your own thoughts. 

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