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‘We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne’

December 29, 2011

The words for the most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s eve, “Auld Lang Syne,” come from an old Scottish ditty that was first published by the poet Robert Burns in 1796. Burns transcribed it (and made some refinements to the lyrics) after he heard it sung by an old man from the Ayrshire area of Scotland, Burns’s homeland. According to, “Auld Lang Syne,” which asks whether old friends and times will be remembered, is “one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to."

I also discovered that “it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, who played the song at midnight at a New Year’s Eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, when a tradition was born.” Lombardo’s version of “Auld Lang Syne” was played every New Year’s Eve at the Waldorf Astoria from the 1930s until 1976. In the first years it was broadcast on radio, and later on television. The song became such a tradition that Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play “Auld Lang Syne,” “the American public would not believe that the new year had really arrived.”

Here are just a few of the events happening in our own backyard on December 31, 2011.

Middle Eastern/Flamenco

WHERE: The Delaware Valley Youth Center, 8 Creamery Road, Callicoon. 570/224-0813.

WHAT: "Bring your dancing shoes to a family-oriented New Year’s dance party featuring live traditional Flamenco and Middle Eastern dances with popular music to follow. Bring a dessert for the potluck table. Money collected will benefit Delaware Riverkeeper.”

A peaceful New Year's

WHERE:The Kadampa Meditation Center, 47 Sweeney Rd., Glen Spey, NY. 845/856-9000.

WHAT: Kadampa will hold a New Year celebration to help bring peace and compassion to 2012. There will be light refreshments, a video presentation and candlelit prayers at midnight.

Dancing Cat New Year

WHERE:The Dancing Cat Saloon, 2037 Route 17B, Bethel, NY. 845/583-3141.

WHAT: “We are going to have a fantastic party to bring in the new year, all night long, with very talented and fun friends Compton Maddux and the Dirt Simple Band.” The Cat has put together a package that includes lodging nearby for those who want to “dance the night away” without having to travel; visit for more information.

New Year's at the Crossroads

Free rides home

Yellow Cab Co. in Monticello, in partnership with Dana Distributors in Goshen, NY, will offer a free ride home to those who feel they should not drive. After a patron has surrendered his or her keys, establishments within a 20-mile radius of Monticello will contact the taxi company, ensuring safe passage for those in need. For more information regarding this “program with responsibility,” call 845/794-4040.