The Ode to Newfoundland is the provincial anthem of Newfoundland and Labrador. The song started as a poem, written by the Governor of Newfoundland at the time, Sir Cavendish Boyle, in 1902. He had reported to Newfoundland from England the year before and wrote many poems dedicated to the rugged island he’d fallen in love with. The first time the poem was performed publicly was by Frances Daisy Foster, at the end of a play called Mamzelle which was performed at the Casino Theatre in St. John’s. The song was set to music composed by ER Krippner, who was a German bandmaster, music teacher and music store owner living in St. John’s. The song became so popular that articles in newspapers appealed to the Governor to adopt it as Newfoundland’s National Anthem. He agreed, but decided to change up the music, either for a more dignified sound, or to make it appeal to a wider audience, depending on the source. He also bought the rights to the original music. On May 20, 1904, the poem titled Newfoundland was changed to Newfoundland: An Ode and became the official national anthem. It fell out of favour when Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, but in the 1980’s, pride in our province was enjoying a resurgence and the song again became popular enough that it was named the provincial anthem. This was another first for Newfoundland, as we were the first province to adopt an anthem. The Ode is unique in that it celebrates the natural beauty of the province rather than patriotism.
I hope you enjoyed this very first mini! I’ll be back next week with a new episode. Talk to you then!