Hillstrom '94 Wins Centennial Fight Song Contest
November 30, 2015
As part of Webster University’s Centennial celebration, the Centennial Planning Committee held a contest to compose a Fight Song for Webster Athletics. The contest was open to submissions from all faculty, staff, students and alumni from February to June 2015, with a $2,500 prize offered to the contest winner.
Five qualified entries were submitted for competition, with a composition by Webster University alumnus Michael Hillstrom ‘94, “Go, Go, Gorloks!” selected as the winner.
“While all of the entries were outstanding, this one particularly captured Webster’s mission, vision, and values, and of course speaks to Gorlok pride,” said Jeffrey Carter, chair of Webster’s Department of Music and Centennial sub-committee chair. “Enjoying music to deepen the bonds and affection people feel for their alma mater and their fellow classmates is a tradition that goes back centuries, and it’s a tradition that belongs at Webster."
Hillstrom’s fight song joins the new alma mater created by Class of 2016 music student Christopher Poetz as additions to Webster’s repertoire during its centennial year.
“As we wrap up our centennial celebrations, this is a time to build new traditions for our next 100 years,” said President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, as she congratulated Hillstrom. “As we move forward, music can become a language for all of us.”
An instructor of music theory and appreciation and an accomplished freelance pianist, guitarist and vocalist, Hillstrom is an alumnus of Webster University and Illinois State University, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in music composition, respectively. He has also schooled at the University of Minnesota, Marquette University, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, and Moose Lake (Minnesota) High School.
“I came to Webster at a pivotal point in my life, and it certainly left a mark on me,” Hillstrom said, as he recalled the impact of Webster music faculty. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and I see it as a way of giving back to Webster.”
The contest-winning selection, "Go, Go, Gorloks!" isn't Hillstrom’s first composition for an institution of higher education. He also composed the graduation march for McHenry County College, where he is chair of the Department of Music and also writes for chamber orchestra, string quartet and other ensembles. Known for his dry sense of humor, Hillstrom also claims songwriting credits for novelty songs such as "What Shall I Do With Dorothy?" and the "Purple Polka Rap."
He was presented with his $2,500 award in a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 21, in the Webster Groves Room located in Webster Hall on Webster University’s main campus in Webster Groves. Hillstrom, Carter, director of Music Theory Bob Chamberlin and student members of the Webster Wind Ensemble led attendees in singing the song.
“On behalf of the Athletics Department, we would like to thank the Centennial Committee for providing this asset,” said Scott Kilgallon, director of Athletics. “We look forward to incorporating the fight song into our athletic events appropriately as we move forward. It’s a great song to capture the team and student spirit of the Gorloks.”
As Hillstrom's composition for the Gorloks declares, "Show that Gorlok pride!"
See more photos from the presentation in this Facebook album.