This unit discusses the significance of songs written for the state of Indiana. “Back Home Again in Indiana” is a song composed in 1917 by James F. Hanely with lyrics by Ballard MacDonald. Even though “On the Banks of the Wabash” is the official state song, “Back Home Again in Indiana” is more popular and considered a standard of The Great American Songbook. It has been performed before every Indy-500 race since 1946. Most recently the a capella group Straight No Chaser recorded it and The Voice TV show winner Josh Kauffman performed it during his winning season. “Back Home Again in Indiana” and the state song “On the Banks of the Wabash” both honor the state’s landscapes, historical monuments, and the general beauty of Indiana with references to candlelight, moonlight, fields, new-mown hay, sycamore trees, and the Wabash River.
Enrichment and Activities
Lyrics that Paint a Picture
Students sing songs about Indiana, and discuss and draw the images in the lyrics; then they think of landmarks in their own towns, draw pictures, and construct sentences which are used to make their own chants or raps.
Students discuss and learn to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana,” and make up movements to go along with the song. They then learn a harmony part to play on soprano recorder, barred, wind, or string instruments.