Friday, December 19, 2014

The Time for Auld Lang Syne is Now!

The turn of a new year is celebrated in most cultures. It gives one pause to reflect on the past, to consider the future, and celebrate the present. It is widely traditional to sing Auld Lang Syne  the historic words of Robbie Burns set to an old Scottish folk song  at midnight on New Years Eve and at other occasions when things of the past are brought to mind.

I have always loved Auld Lang Syne, and this post tells how I came to arrange it for many kinds of ensembles (choral and instrumental), and more importantly, how you can get your own copy to sing or play at New Years, retirements, parties, and even chamber music readings. Let this modern setting be not forgot!

My arrangement of Auld Lang Syne of approximately four minutes in length (can be shortened to one or two verses, if desired) is available for purchase right now for:

In time, I might make more versions available. If you have a specific interest, write me to inquire: The choral version is priced per copy. Instrumental versions are $14 plus tax and shipping.

To Listen

To hear a recording of my Auld Lang Syne, go HERE, find Auld Lang Syne at the bottom of the page, then click on mp3 or recording. I thank tubist David Holben for making and offering this recording.

Also, the venerable Hill St. Sax Quartet recently played the sax quartet version streetside and "live" in Montrose, CA. Watch the video!

How to Order

These versions are available now, even before my website can be updated. Some versions can be ordered there (SATB choral, brass quartet, trombone quartet, and tuba quartet), but for the others, email me for details, which basically are these: you can send the funds by Paypal, and Ill send out the order ASAP. But, please email me first to get the correct amount (including shipping, and tax, if relevant).


In 1987, I wrote a bold, flashy version of Auld Lang Syne for my friend Kevin Brown and his Tournament of Roses Herald Trumpeters to play for the Rose Parade. When I joined the Disneyland Fanfare Trumpeters, they added that version to their repertoire. Then it came to me to write against type and give the Disneyland Fanfare Trumpeters a quiet version to play as well. I used jazz harmonies, and it was a hit. These two contrasting versions have been in print for many years as Two Settings of Auld Lang Syne – one publication for four trumpets and one publication for brass quintet.

Some years later, my friend, the eminent choral conductor, Dr. Thomas Somerville, retired from his long-time position as Director of Music at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and his choir commissioned a setting of Auld Lang Syne to sing for him. I crafted a four-verse setting based on the jazzy version I had already done, and it was a success, too (see my catalog, #1036).

Old Times, New Times

This year, John Skelton, who each year in Salem, Oregon conducts one of the many popular mass-tuba Christmas concerts, heard a performance of my trumpet ensemble version of Auld Lang Syne on Youtube, and he asked if I would make a version of it for his tuba event. Instead of adapting the trumpet version for him, I adapted my choral version, to provide more length and variety. It then hit me how this music could be adapted for many instrumental ensembles.

So, think of how you might enjoy this music. If you are in one of the kinds of ensembles listed above, you might use Auld Lang Syne at New Years time, either for a gig or just to sing or play with friends. You might use it for parties during the year  birthdays, retirements, or other special occasions. You might give it as a gift to friends and relatives who play chamber music, or you might want it for your choir to enjoy. Whatever your interest, be sure to consider adding my Auld Lang Syne to your library or giving it as a gift. Either way, new times are always coming when itll be good to celebrate the old times, and Auld Lang Syne will be just the thing you need!

Happy New Year!

Dr. Ray