A march from the past

The story of Prior Lake High School’s iconic fight song

Prior Lake school song lyrics found in the gold gym

Freya Bredesen

Prior Lake school song lyrics found in the gold gym

Picture it.

The football stadium is electric as the players take the field for halftime. The stadium lights illuminate the field as bright as day, and the bleachers are full of blue and gold.


Crowds roar and cheer as the cheerleaders and marching band take the field. Everyone knows what’s happening next — the iconic fight song. 


Every student is excited as the band begins to play. In unison, they cheer out:


P-R-I-O-R-L-A-K-E Priiiooor Lake!


But where did this iconic cheer begin?


In September of 1952, Carl Christopherson, the Prior Lake High School music teacher created a student contest with a fairly challenging task: Write a school song. Not many people entered as most didn’t think much of it.


“A school song tends to be more focused on a fight song or a general bonding of the school,” said current Prior Lake High School Band teacher Keith Koehlmoos.


Along came 15-year-old Margaret Busse, a sophomore at the time, who considered herself not musical at all. So how does a sophomore write one of the most iconic songs in Prior Lake High School history?


“I just sat down and plunked the notes and wrote the song,” said Busse in a 2017 interview with swmedia.com.


At first, she didn’t like the words and felt embarrassed, but when her fellow classmates heard it, they all loved it because of the song’s upbeat and inspiring nature. 


“The song is the middle part or the trio of a march called March Salutation,” said Keith Koehlmoos. 


Busse easily won the contest. Over the years, some of the song’s lyrics have meant different things. The song mentions, “We are the blue and gold gang of Prior Lake High.”


In the same interview, Busse said, “Fifty years ago, a gang was just a bunch of people.” The meaning has changed now, as popular slang refers to a gang as a group of criminals, but back then, the meaning was entirely different.


Today, the lyrics and melody stay the same because of Prior Lake’s long-lasting history. Students from years past have their own kids and even grandkids now and attend football games hearing the same melody they sang many years before.


“This is our identity through music because it’s just been part of us since the 1950s,” said Koehlmoos, showing that through the years, each generation has known this song and still connects to it. 


“Once you say this is your school song, this is your school song,” said Koehlmoos stating how even schools that are rich in history like the University of Michigan have a song that is over 100 years old. 


The question is, does the song still resonate with today’s students? “When we play it in the commons and spell Prior Lake, the school stops and yells Prior Lake!” said Justin Schramm, band teacher at Prior Lake High School.


Today, Margaret Busse has grandchildren that have gone to the school and heard the song their grandmother wrote. Despite it being Prior Lake’s song for 70 years, it still manages to resonate with students and give them something to express their pride.