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Amy Donna Shapiro Successfully Petitions to Change Oregon’s State Song

Sep. 10, 2021
Category: Performance

Madison native Amy Shapiro ’75 has lived in Beaverton, Oregon, since 1982 with her husband, Jeffrey Olenick ’74, MD’78. In 1990, as a Jewish music teacher, Amy was asked to teach “Oregon, My Oregon” to her children’s choir, and saw the words to the Oregon State Song for the first time. She was very troubled by the racist lyrics of the 100+-year-old song. In 2016, Amy was asked to sing the song with a community orchestra; it was then that she decided to change the song. She worked with the state legislature, and in April-June 2021, a bill was passed in both the House and Senate in Salem, Oregon, which officially changed the lyrics of the state song, to lyrics written by Amy Donna Shapiro. The bill also acknowledges Oregon’s racist history. Amy’s achievement was announced in the New York Times and newspapers around the world. Amy is also the composer of one of Madison’s official songs, “My Friend Madison” chosen during Madison’s sesquicentennial celebration. Her music is featured on YouTube.

More Alumni Notes

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Jeffrey Vande Leest ’75 retired June 30, 2021.

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