We are the Chargers

Samantha Mathewson

To promote University of New Haven tradition, and increase school spirit and knowledge of UNH Fight Song, USGA President Zani Imetovski and Director of Student Activities Greg Overend decided to paste the song’s lyrics on the stairs leading upstairs from the Bartels Marketplace.

Charlie the Charger (Photo/University of New Haven)
Charlie the Charger (Photo/University of New Haven)

The project was funded in total by the Undergraduate Student Government Association. Overend expects to use the Fight Song more throughout SOAR programs in the summer sessions to teach it to incoming freshman so that it can be ingrained in the UNH culture. “Not many know the song,” said Overend, and this is their way to learn it.

“Greg Overend and I thought that it would be a good idea to put the song on the stairs because USGA and Student Activities have been working a great deal on improving school pride. And in my opinion one way to unify a student body is by making our campus a physical reflection of a ‘Charger Nation,’” explained Imetovski. “The decision was prompted by USGA efforts to boost pride in our school and to make everyone feel more invested in our campus. The fight song is, for lack of a better phrase, our ‘national anthem’ of campus.”

Imetovski said the stairs in Bartels were chosen to be the home of the lyrics because it is a central point on campus. “The idea is that people would see the words of our fight song and slowly become familiar with it. We want the fight song to become a piece of every students experience here at UNH and something that they will remember as alumni.”

“I think it is terrific,” said Athletic Director Debbie Chin. “On the stairs, everyone has to look at it.” Chin explained that at the football games, she sings with parents so they can learn the words, and makes everyone else sing it too. At football games the song lyrics are displayed on the video board and they come up after every touch down. The UNH Charger Marching Band also plays the melody the Fight Song follows.

The fight song’s lyrics and music were put together by music professor, Al Celotto and band director Jason DeGroff. Celotto explained that A few years ago, Chin came to him and informed him that she was thinking about having a competition for a new fight song. “At our meeting, I mentioned to her that I would be glad to compose a new one for the university. I started the process by listening to many fight songs from various universities and colleges. I determined that the length should not be too long, not too short (roughly 30 seconds). I also took into consideration the overall gamut of the melody line. Seeing that this would mostly be sung by non-professional musicians and singers, I had to come up with a melody that was catchy, easy to remember, and fun to sing. That being said, I composed a number of different melodies, and versions of those melodies until I finally decided on the one we currently use. I presented it to Debbie Chin, and asked her opinion. I also asked her sing the melody so that I could see if it was comfortable for her. She sang it quite well and really liked the melody. So, with her blessing, I then embarked on the lyrics.”

For Celotto, the lyrics had to reflect the pride, spirit, and work ethic of the UNH students. “Having taught at UNH for 30 years, I reflected upon past students, professors, alumni, etc., and after a few days of work, penned the short, but pithy lyrics we now sing. The lyrics convey the spirit and honor of all who have ever graced this campus.”

Celotto explained how he composed the UNH Fight Song: “After I had composed the melody and lyrics, I began to orchestrate the Fight Song for winds, brass, and percussion. I did it the old fashioned way – I wrote out each instrumental part on staff paper. After that, I played each instrumental part into my digital workstation, until all were added. I then listened to the parts in various combinations to insure that there were no “blue” notes within the overall harmonies. Once I was satisfied with the entire composition, I contacted DeGroff, and asked him if he would be kind enough to transcribe my hand-written orchestral parts onto Finale (a very abstruse but top-of-the-line notation program). DeGroff agreed to do that for me, and I then mentioned to him that in the event he did not have enough student performers for the instruments I had scored, that he was free to use whatever would be best for the overall ensemble (the marching band). So, after all was said and done, DeGroff and I came up with what we believe is a fantastic combination of instruments that bring out the best in the music and lyrics.”

After Celotto found out about the song being put in Bartels he said, “It certainly brought a smile to both of us [him and DeGroff]. I think it was an excellent idea to place the lyrics there. Hopefully, the presence of the lyrics will make them more familiar to our students – especially those students who normally do not attend university events where the Fight Song is sung.”

Since the placement of the lyrics on the Bartels staircase, Imetovski feels that it has already made an impact. “Students have approached me saying they like it and also have said because of the Fight Song on the stairs, they actually have become aware of it, whereas before they might have not even known it existed.”


UNH Fight Song:

We are the Chargers

We will never fall

We are the Chargers

And we will conquer all

When we are called to act

We will not hesitate

To bring victory

And Pride to UNH, Fight.