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in 80 liedern an 80 tagen um die welt. tag 67: kalamazoo.

von | 15.Januar 2008

[anm. von matze: heute mal wieder eine neue gastautorin, die in diesem kleinen städtchen zur schule geganngen ist. deshalb auch ein etwas anderer song als eigentlich geplant war. achja, und auf englisch. wenigstens nicht schwedisch…]

glenn miller band – i’ve got a girl in kalamazoo

As a graduate of Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan (USA), I would be happy to share a bit of what I know about my old home.

Kalamazoo is a Native American word. No one knows for sure what it means, but most say it means boiling water. The Kalamazoo River has rocks just beneath the surface that make it look as if the water were boiling. Kalamazoo is a town of maybe 100,000 people (more if one counts its neighbor Portage since they join each other). Though not a big city, it has branches of several major companies including Pfizer. And one little known fact is that Kalamazoo was the only city in Michigan visited by President Lincoln and another is that it was the first city in the US to have a walking mall.

Kalamazoo is known from the song Ive Got a Gal in Kalamazoo and also for the expression From Timbuktu to Kalamazoo, which means roughly across the world.

In Kalamazoo there is a college called Kalamazoo College, which is where I went to school. It is often overshadowed by Western Michigan University as the two schools campuses are adjacent and WMU has over 25,000 students versus Kalamazoo Colleges 1300. Kalamazoo College (K) is a private college and is the oldest such school in Michigan, founded in 1833 by a Baptist minister, though the school is not religiously affiliated. It is a cute little school with Georgian Architecture.

When Ive Got a Gal in Kalamazoo came out in 1942 for the movie Orchestra Wives (which I have been told is horrible) it was a huge hit at home (spending 7 weeks in #1 on the charts) and (especially) among the US troops fighting in the war. Since the song clearly contains lyrics that refer to a sweetheart at school, it was immensely popular on Ks campus. At that time the men at K all lived in a dorm called Hoben, built 1933, at the bottom of a hill facing a large.

And the women all lived in a dorm called Trowbridge, built 1925, at the top of the same hill facing the quadrangle opposite Hoben.

On cool evenings the young men in Hoben would saunter up the hill together sweetly serenading the girls above with Ive Got a Gal in Kalamazoo (or Trowbridge) to get the young women to come out with them. The students even decided to vote for a girl to actually become the girl from the song. Her name was Sara Woolley (later Knight). She was a 19-year-old K-College student who ended up acting as a spokesperson for the whole town.

The song is still sung for fun on campus. I know my friends and I chalked its lyrics on the sidewalk at least once. And, though, you may think youve not met anyone from K or Kalamazoo, you may be wrong since K alone has over 50 study abroad programs, two of which are in Germany (including FAU-Erlangen where I studied abroad) (not to mention WMU). If you see one, say Hi. Theyre a friendly group and would probably hum a few bars with you ?


file under: in 80 liedern um die welt | 2 kommentare »

2 kommentare zu “in 80 liedern an 80 tagen um die welt. tag 67: kalamazoo.”

  1. mr. brightside meint:
    17.Januar 2008 at 2:10 am

    very interesting article! never heared about kalamazoo bevore ;) i’m sorry.. :)

  2. mr. brightside meint:
    17.Januar 2008 at 2:11 am

    heard. before. damn! i’m drunk! :)