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December 31, 2005

Canadian Orchestra Marks the New Year

Written by
cindy mcleod

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
And here’s a hand, my trusty friend
And gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

New Year’s Eve celebrations wouldn’t be complete without hearing the strains of Auld Lang Syne as the midnight hour strikes. A Scottish song that was first written down in the 1700s, the version of the lyrics we are most accustomed to hearing is the Robert Burns transcription. The translation of the words “auld lang syne” is “times gone by.”

The most popular and widely recognized musical version is that of the Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadian orchestra.

Gaetano Alberto ‘Guy’ Lombardo was a Canadian bandleader and violinist. With his three brothers Carmen, Lebert and Victor and other musicians from his hometown of London, Ontario, he formed the The Royal Canadians in 1924, who billed themselves as playing “The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven.” The orchestra played at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and their New Year’s Eve broadcasts (which continued until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria) were a major part of New Year’s celebrations across North America. In 1938, he became a naturalized citizen of the U.S.

The Lombardos are to believed to have sold more than 300 million LP records during their lifetimes, a considerable feat given that many homes didn’t even have record players in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The Guy Lombardo Museum is located near Wonderland Gardens, a venue closely associated with Lombardo and the Royal Canadians. Nearby there is also a bridge named after him, as well as Lombardo Avenue in north London near the University of Western Ontario. In his later years, Lombardo lived in Freeport, LI, NY where he kept his boat ‘Tempo IV’. The home Guy Lombardo was born in still stands at 202 Simcoe St. in London, Ontario.

Happy New Year to One and All!

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