|Past, Present, Future|
Denis and colleagues at his College of Notre Dame retirement party, 2000
auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
In days of auld lang syne?
|"Auld Lang Syne" revisited|
to go to
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Past, Present, Future
Chapter 3: The Twelve Songs of Christmas
Chapter 4: Standing on Many Corners
Chapter 5: Showtime at Five O'Clock
Chapter 6: Chicago Off-Off-Off Broadway
Chapter 7: San Francisco Off-Off-Off Broadway
Chapter 8: Palm Springs Off-Off-Off Broadway
Chapter 9: With a Song in My Heart
Chapter 10: Index of Performers and Songs
And here's a hand, my trusty friend . . .Auld Lang Syne -- 1999
In December of 1999, my partner Rob Tackes and I were watching the televised Kennedy Center Awards and heard a wonderful song in tribute to Scottish actor Sean Connery. Scottish singers Mauri Campbell and Dave Francis performed their arrangement of "Auld Lang Syne" as written by Scottish poet Robert Burns.
Their version was fascinating. I've included a recording of their 1999 Kennedy Center performance below, because of the impact it had on my life. Rather than sing the traditional melody for "Auld Lang Syne" which we all hear every New Year's, Campbell and Francis featured the actual melody used by Robert Burns when he set his poem to music, back in 1796. I decided then and there that, sometime in the future, I would find a special occasion to perform their version myself.
Campbell and Frances, 1999
. . . We'll take a cup of kindness yetAuld Lang Syne -- 2000
The "special occasion" soon presented itself. In year 2000 I retired from full-time teaching at College of Notre Dame, after twenty-nine years in the Music Department. I continued teaching part-time for another five years, at what then became "Notre Dame de Namur University."
In April of 2000 the College presented a gala retirement party in my honor. Attending were my partner Rob, my brother Bob from Chicago, my sister Pam and her son Mike from St. Louis, and scores of students, friends and colleagues. The program was -- thankfully -- short on speeches and long on music. Several CND students and staff performed, along with other singers I knew in the San Francisco area.
I was last on the program. After giving -- again thankfully -- a short speech, I closed by singing Campbell and Francis's "Auld Lang Syne," which I had adapted for piano and voice. How apropos that my final performance was yet another arrangement, merging a well-known old poem with a barely-known old melody. What better way to thank my family and friends -- past, present, and future?
Brother Bob, Partner Rob, Denis, Sister Pam and Nephew Mike,
with Ted Klinka in second row under chandelier, 2000