Category: History  Listing Date: 1970-08-24
DeeCort Hammitt was born in Spencer, South Dakota. as a boy the family moved to Alcester, where he became an accomplished professional musician, composer, music publisher, and band leader.
In 1921, he became the first Director of the Alcester Community Band. The fame of the band grew, and it was named the official South Dakota State Band. They played for President Calvin Coolidge when the Summer White House was located in the Black Hills in 1927.
Hammitt published many songs including "To A Prairie Lullabye," recorded by the early Lawrence Welk Band; "The Roundup March," recorded by the U.S. Navy Band; and "Hail, South Dakota," adopted as the official state song, in 1943.
Hail! South Dakota! - Written by DeeCort Hammitt - Composed by DeeCort Hammitt
Hail! South Dakota, A great state of the land, Health, wealth and beauty, That's what makes her grand; She has her Black Hills, And mines with gold so rare, And with her scenery, No other state can compare.
Come where the sun shines, And where life's worth your while, You won't be here long, 'Till you'll wear a smile; No state's so healthy, And no folk quite so true, To South Dakota. We welcome you.
Hail! South Dakota, The state we love the best, Land of our fathers, Builders of the west; Home of the Badlands, and Rushmore's ageless shrine, Black Hills and prairies, Farmland and Sunshine. Hills, farms and prairies, Blessed with bright Sunshine.