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Tech Triumph

Tech Triumph is the fight song of Virginia Tech. It was composed in 1919 by Wilfred Pete Maddux (class of 1920) and Mattie Eppes (Boggs).

Composers

Wilfred Preston ("Pete") Maddux, a trombone and baritone player in the Virginia Tech Regimental Band (member of the band from the Fall of 1917 to 1919), jointly composed Tech Triumph (1985 recording - link updated 2008) in 1919 along with Mattie Walton Eppes (Boggs). Mattie Eppes was a neighbor of Pete in his hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia. When he was home, Pete would often play violin with Mattie accompanying him on the piano. One evening in the summer of 1919, Pete asked her to help him compose a fight song for VPI. She played the tune and Pete wrote out the score and the words for two verses in a single evening. Pete Maddox is not listed in the yearbook with the band after 1919. Ms. Eppes later married John C. Boggs, Superintendent of Randolph-Macon Military Academy.

First performance

The song was first performed on Saturday, November 1, 1919, at the Fair Grounds in Lynchburg, Virginia before the football game between V.P.I. and Washington and Lee University. According to the report in the Nov. 5, 1919, issue of The Virginia Tech, there were problems with obtaining uniforms for the entire Corps, so only the junior and senior classes, along with the band, were able to attend the game. The cadets arrived by train in Lynchburg at 11:30 a.m. and headed to the Carroll Hotel, which was V.P.I. headquarters. At 1 p.m., the cadets paraded through the streets of Lynchburg, then headed to the car barn to board street cars for the trip to the Fair Grounds.

"On arriving at the grounds, the battalion was formed for the review on the football field. After passing in review before the grandstand, the four companies formed a hollow square with the band in the center, and the band played our new song, 'Tech Triumph.'"

In a letter to The Virginia Tech published on Dec. 10, 1919, Maddux expressed his appreciation to the student body.

To the Editor of "The Va. Tech,"
Blacksburg, Virginia
Dear Billy [Virginia Tech editor William Clift]

May I take this means of asking you to express through the columns of "The Tech" my sincere appreciation for the generous way in which the Corps received our new song. It is needless to say that the hearty approval of the student body makes me fell highly pleased, for I am quite sure that those who love their Alma Mater are as eager as I am to see the song become more popularly distributed.

While, of course, every one realizes that I expect to benefit financially through the publication of "Tech Triumph," I want every body to know that it is mainly my devotion and love to the college, which I am proud to boast as my Alma Mater, that prompted me to write the song and it is for the sake of "Tech" that I want it to receive a wide circulation. It is more than gratifying to me to see the ardent spirit and loyalty which the Corps manifests when every man lends his lusty voice to swell the chorus of football singing.

You may be interested to know that the college has approved the song officially and a large number of copies will be sent out by the college to high schools throughout the state as an advertisement of the spirit of "Tech." If I will not be presuming too much upon your kindness, may I ask that you help boost the song through "The Virginia Tech," and furthermore that you encourage the men of V.P.I. to join us in spreading our song around the country until V.P.I. will be known throughout the South and the country at large.

Thanking you again for your cooperation in making the publication of "Tech Triumph" a success, ::I am

Yours very cordially,
W.P. Maddux

The following school year, as noted in the June 2, 1920, edition of The Virginia Tech, "After a great deal of trouble, to say nothing of the expense incurred, the Monogram Club has succeeded in placing the "Tech Triumph" upon a Columbia record, and we are told that the greatest college song on "record" will be out during Finals."

The popularity of the song continued, as reported in the Nov. 3, 1920, edition of The Virginia Tech. "The song has been a great success, not only as a school song, but also as a popular selection, and is featured as such by many dance orchestras. J. N. Walker, who has been handling the sale of the records and piano copies for the Monogram Club, has received another supply of both the records and the sheet music, which are now on sale at 256 G Division. The price remains the same as formerly, $1.25 for the record and 35 cents for the piano copies. Anyone who has failed to obtain either the record or the sheet music is urged to do so at once, as the supply is not expected to last long."

Words to Tech Triumph

   Techmen, we're Techmen, with spirit true and faithful,
   Backing up our teams with hopes undying;
   Techmen, Oh, Techmen, we're out to win today,
   Showing pep and life with which we're trying;
   V.P., old V.P., you know our hearts are with you
   In our luck which never seems to die;
   Win or lose, we'll greet you with a glad returning,
   You're the pride of V.P.I.

   Chorus:
   Just watch our men so big and active
   Support the Orange and Maroon. Let's go Techs.
   We know our ends and backs are stronger,
   With winning hopes, we fear defeat no longer.
   To see our team plow through the line, boys.
   Determined now to win or die:
   So give a Hokie, Hokie, Hi,
   Rae, Ri, old V.P.I.

   Second Verse (seldom used)
   Fight, men, oh, fight, men, we're going to be the champions
   Adding to our list another victory;
   Football or baseball, the games in which we star,
   They're the sports which made old VP famous.
   Hold'em, just hold'em, you know the Corps' behind you
   Watching every movement that you make.
   Winning games was nothing for our teams before you --
   Keep the "rep" for VP's sake.

The song is noted for beginning with the opening notes of Reveille--a nod to Tech's past as an all-male military school. Tech Triumph is played after points are scored at Tech football games, and occasionally during timeouts at basketball games.

See also

References

  • Virginia Tech yearbook, the Bugle, 1918, 1919, 1920
  • The Bugle's Echo, Volum III, Col Harry Temple, USA (retired).

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