When Alderman Maureen Lewis learned St. Charles had no official city song, she decided it was time residents began singing a different tune.
She, along with two guest singers and musical accompaniment, convinced her fellow elected officials the city has actually had the perfect song waiting for the past 30 years.
"In St. Charles," written by St. Charles native Jim Masters in 1984, was the surprise hit of a class reunion Lewis attended this summer along with fellow city resident Bill Russell.
"There was such applause and such a feeling among the people in the audience that this song embodied everything that's good about St. Charles," Russell told aldermen Monday. "A sense of community, friendship, neighbors -- what better advertising could we have for what St. Charles was, is and can be?"
Russell was quoting some of the lyrics of the song. The easy-flowing ballad describes a community by a river, both rural and suburban, with "friends money can't buy" and an atmosphere "where dreams are realized."
Russell told aldermen the song could be featured on the city's website, during community gatherings and even as the background sound when callers to city hall are placed on hold.
"I guarantee you it will be less irritating than 'Stairway to Heaven' or 'Moon River' played over and over," Russell said.
Lewis said she's been lobbying city officials to put the song to a vote as the official city tune for about four months. She said it inspires memories of the 1950s and 1960s when St. Charles was just starting to really grow.
Her colleagues on the council agreed. After a formal vote in mid-November, "In St. Charles" will be the official song of the city.
Masters, the composer of the song, left St. Charles during his high school years. He wrote the song when he was 30 years old and living in New York where he began a career as a jazz musician, touring with the Buddy Rich Big Band and the Widespread Jazz Orchestra.
Masters is now a lecturer in jazz studies at Ohio State University and a member of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. He did not immediately respond to an interview request Tuesday.