Tune in to KGNB – AM 1420 or KNBT – FM 92.1 for weather announcements for the parade and program.
By Myra Lee Adams Goff
Guess you think we’re going to celebrate the Fourth of July on the fourth of July. Well, you’re wrong. We’re going to show our independence by celebrating on the third of July, and we have the freedom to do just that. Why? Because the fourth is on Sunday. So, on Saturday, July 3rd, the Sophienburg will again sponsor a parade and program in downtown New Braunfels.
The parade will begin at 9:15 am and head towards the Plaza. If you want to enter, call the Sophienburg at 629-1572 and reserve your spot. All the traditional elements of an old-fashioned Fourth of July will be there – people, music, speeches by dignitaries, heat, and especially good fellowship. The City of New Braunfels will continue their fireworks display the next day on the Fourth of July.
Our outstanding Community Band under the direction of Al Tapia will again be playing on the Plaza. Band President Barry Irwin says that one of the traditional songs they will play will be “Yankee Doodle”. Listen for it and think of this strange, interesting story behind the song.
Although there are many accounts of the history of “Yankee Doodle”, most agree that the words and pattern, but not the tune, goes back to the 1600s. One source says that the tune was Spanish in origin; some say it is German, English, and who knows? One source claims that the Puritans were ridiculed by being called “Naukeys” (hence, Yankees) in a stanza adapted to this same tune.
How did it get to the Fourth of July? Most accounts agree that it was a song written by the English to insult the Americans before the Revolutionary War. Think about the pictures you have seen of the English in their military red snappy-looking uniforms and then look at the colonists’ “ragamuffin” group, as the English called them.
Here’s the insult, as one line goes: “He stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni”. The term “macaroni” was a slang word referring to an English dandy who affected foreign mannerisms and fashion. A macaroni believed that he was stylishly attired as he “stuck a feather in his cap” when, in fact, he was outlandishly comical. The British had a superior attitude towards the colonists, but you know that old saying, “He who laughs last, lasts the loudest”.
If you are of a certain, shall we say “mature age”, you will remember the Golden Song Book used at Carl Schurz and Lamar Elementary schools here. It was first published in 1915 and used as late as the 1960s. “Yankee Doodle” was one of those songs belted out across New Braunfels every Friday. According to the history in the song book, Dr. Richard Shackburg derisively provided the song to the colonists, telling them it was a fine military song. When they played it, the British were greatly amused. Nevertheless, the colonists loved the tune that was intended to be an insult. It turned out to be a song of celebration.
In 1942 a movie about the life of musician George M. Cohan made its debut. James Cagney starred in the movie called “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. The song by that name actually has a line or two in it from the other Yankee Doodle song.
In New Braunfels the first Fourth of July celebration was in 1846, shortly after Texas became a state of the United States. For more on that first July 4th celebration see the Sophienburg Web site www.sophienburg.com, June 24, 2009.
From what I have read, the word “Yankee” and “American” were used interchangeably here in NB, but “Doodle”? Was ist das? (What is that?)
Come join the Sophienburg for its celebration and sing:
“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
A Yankee Doodle do or die.
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam
Born on the THIRD of July.”