March to the beat of a different drum

In May, I shared the story of our state’s official song, Home on the Range.  But did you know Kansas also has two official marches. 

According to, only four states have official marches.  Massachusetts, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kansas.  Of those, Louisiana and Kansas have two official marches.

The Kansas March
Courtesy: Kansas Historical Society

“The Kansas March” was adopted by the Kansas legislature in 1935.  The music was written Duff E. Middleton. 

Middleton was born in Augusta, Kansas on October 21, 1896.  Middleton served as the director of instrumental music for the Wichita Public Schools from 1928 to 1947.

Duff Middleton

Middleton’s march did not include lyrics.  The editor of the Wichita Eagle, Victor Murdock, wrote some lyrics and printed them in the paper.  Murdock’s version was “Blue sky above us, silken strands of heat / Rim of the far horizon, where earth and heaven meet / Kansas as a temple, stands in velvet sod / Shrine which the sunshine, sanctifies to God.”

Middleton died on November 17, 1954.  He is interred in Augusta, KS at Elmwood Cemetery with his wife, Ruth B. Middleton.

Duff Middleton’s Grave

In 1953, Robert Jones rearranged the music and added his own lyrics. He published the piece and called it “Cheers for Kansas.”

Cheers For Kansas

Lyrics by Robert R. Jones and music by Duff E. Middleton

Sing ad astra and per aspera

to the stars thru’ work and strife.

(Oh yes, we mean it, Kan-sas)

Tells us how a bleeding Kansas fought

to preserve a way of life, Oh!

Valiant Kansans vanquished ruffians,

then Cor’nado’s dream fulfilled,

Not in the cities of Quivera,

but in a fertile land well tilled.

Yes, Kansas

Our Kansas wheat fields, cross the rolling plain,

Bright sunflow’rs, green pastures there,

Part of our Jayhawk domain, (Oh! Yes, we love it)

Folks are guided by stars, both hands on the plow,

Onward ever upward


Our Kansas wheat fields, cross the rolling plain,

Bright sunflow’rs, green pastures there,

Part of our Jayhawk domain, (Oh! Yes, we love it)

Folks are guided by stars, both hands on the plow,

Onward ever upward


Here’s Kansas

A second March was adopted by Kansas in 1992: “Here’s Kansas” by Bill Post.   It was adopted on July 1, 1992. Lyrics and music were by Post and arranged by Kenneth Judd.

Here’s Kansas

By Bill Post

Kansas is the state for me,

Beautiful and plain to see miles around,

With hills and plains and furrowed ground;

Kansas has a heart display,

The heart of the plains toward the future

With her eyes upon the future

She will trust in God from day to day;

As she rings the bell of freedom

She will not forget the freedom

That will bind her close in ev’ry way.

The one with the plow,

With the crowded street,

All walks of life with aims to meet

Will agree to be as one for liberty.

Kansas is alive today,

Going forth in full array,

All the way and we, the people of ev’ry county,

Love Kansas more each day.

William Harvey “Bill” Post was born in Los Angeles on November 5, 1919.  He was raised on a farm west of Ark City.  He would move to New York to pursue a career in song writing.  His dreams were put on hold when he was drafted into World War II.  He served in the entertainment services in India.  When he returned, he and his new wife, Doree (married on June 7, 1947), headed to the warmer shores of Los Angeles.  The couple wrote “Sixteen Reasons” for Connie Stevens, “Weekend” for Eddie Cochran, and the Letterman’s “Song for Young Love.”

Bill Post

Doree died of cancer in 1961, so Bill and his son Johnny moved back to Kansas.

Bill would remarry, Orvaleen Pritchett, on August 23, 1970.

Bill Post was listed in Ripley’s Believe It or Not after 6,000 high school band members played “Here’s Kansas” during halftime of a KU football game in 1993.

Bill died on October 25, 2014, and he is interred at Mt. Hope cemetery, not too far where he was raised.

Bill Post’s Grave

So, you know Kansas and Louisiana have two marches, Tennessee and Massachusetts are the only other states with marches.  But there are some interesting official songs across the U.S.


Has two state songs and a waltz


Has two state songs including “Yankee Doodle”, along with a cantata and a polka


Has a state song and a bluegrass song, “Blue Moon of Kentucky”


Has three state songs, a march, and an environmental song


Has a state song, march, glee club song, folk song, ode, polka, and a patriotic song


Has a song, a lullaby, and a ballad

New Hampshire

Has ten state songs

New Mexico

Has a state song, a Spanish state song, a bilingual state song, a ballad, and a cowboy song


Has a state song and an official rock song, “Hang on Sloopy”


Has 8 songs including a children’s song, a country and western song, a folk song, rock song, gospel song, and a waltz


Has 13 songs including two school songs, six official songs including “Rocky Top” and “Tennessee Waltz” (the TN waltz, is a state song, not a state waltz?), a march, and a rap


Has a state song and a hymn


Has three state songs


Has a song and a folk song

West Virginia

Has four state songs including, “Take Me Home Country Roads”


Has a song, ballad, and a waltz

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