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What Is the State Song of Montana?

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  • Written By: H. Lo
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2016
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The state song of Montana is "Montana" by Charles C. Cohan and Joseph E. Howard. Not to be confused with Montana's state ballad or state lullaby, "Montana" was declared the official state song of Montana in 1910, but not actually adopted until 1945. Written specifically about Montana, the song remarks upon the beauty, land and mountains of the state and mentions the state nickname "the Treasure state" as well.

The idea for a song written specifically about the state came from Mrs. E. Creighton Largey, who was once a member of Howard's performance company. After a show on 27 September 1910 in which the song "Illinois" was performed, she suggested a tribute to Montana. She also recommended Cohan, a newspaper editor, assist Howard with writing the song. Howard and Cohan wrote it in just 30 minutes and performed it for the first time later that night.

The song speaks of the beauties of the state, from the skies "always blue" to the "sunset fire" of the mountains. The flowers of the state are also praised, specifically the bitterroot, the state flower of Montana. The state, is the song says, the "glory of the West," and, as befits a state song, the best state in the US.

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The song was performed again in Helena, Montana, on 29 September 1910. The song was extremely popular, and the audience reportedly called for a dozen encore performances before the performance company could continue on with the show. In the audience during this show sat Governor Edwind L. Norris, as well as other notable politicians and businessmen. The governor asked to hear the song again after the show, apparently liking it so much that he asked them to play the future state song of Montana several times.

Though the immediate success of the song led Governor Norris to declare it as the state song of Montana that night in September 1910, it was not actually adopted as the official state song until 20 February 1945 by Governor Sam C. Ford and the Montana Legislature. Howard and Cohan wound up donating the song to the Montana Children's Hospital, located in Helena. All proceeds from sales of the song go to the hospital. The Montana Children's Hospital is now the Shodair Hospital and still retains possession of the song.

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