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31 December 2019 02:34

The Proms Belfast Britain's Got Talent

Most New Year's celebrations ­involve a countdown, a boisterous rendition of Auld Lang Syne and a resolution, the following morning, to go a little easier on the partying next time around. I read an article just today that suggested that well less than 10 percent of the people in the United Kingdom even know what they are singing when they mumble their way this evening through Auld Lang Syne. It appears that a reader of these pages, LaRee Little, feels much the same way as this writer, especially as you consider all the great things in sports that dot the past history of our community. One of my primary thoughts actually focuses on the Lima City Singles which enters second round of qualifications this weekend at 20th Century Lanes. It arguably originated there and there it must stay in tribute to Tobe Cardone, who some veterans of the lanes would say, saved the event when the old days LBA was ready to send it to a scrap heap.

I say we further honor Tobe and the good old days of the event. The cup of kindness yet as I alluded to would be continued focus this next year on the development of programs for youth – more especially programs that will assist in more youth being able to use bowling as a tool to offset some of the cost of college. This past Saturday I was at the Southwest Shootout at Southwest Lanes in Urbana to watch one of those junior bowling graduates and Lima Shawnee student, Abbey Ambroza, sign her national letter of intent to bowl for Urbana University. It is a song of parting and friendship, one of Scotland's greatest exports and the soundtrack to New Year the world over. When the clock strikes midnight on December 31 there is one song on everyone's playlist from Scotland to Russia, the United States to Japan, whether it's ex-pats or partygoers, the world unites in a chorus of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne.

Penned by Scotland's bard, for many the song captures the essence of Hogmanay, inviting them to raise a glass, welcome in the New Year and remember friends and family who are no longer with them. "It's a song of parting and friendship," said Chris Waddle, Learning Manager at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. Perhaps, more than anything else, this is why the song is such a success at this particular time of year." In his time working there Chris has watched as people have welled up when the have reached the display celebrating Auld Lang Syne and told stories of loved ones who have passed away. Chris continued: "When I show schoolkids the original manuscript and talk about the song, I actually get quite emotional. If you think about it, in every one of them the New Year is heralded in by something from Scotland.

It's funny, we hear people being criticised for using the Scots language but for many people it's the first language they hear, every New Year." The song itself has an unusual history in that it actually pre-dates Burns, echoing across generations since medieval times. Aside from his own writing he also took part in the Scots Musical Museum project, a series of volumes of traditional Scottish songs and which included Auld Lang Syne. "When he took part in the Scots Musical Museum project with James Johnston and later with another editor, George Thomson, Burns showed that he was as much a collector as he was a writer," continued Chris. "He was used to playi dances and it was traditional for Auld Lang Syne to be played at the end of a night as a song of 'parting'. His band picked it up, they became well known in the States and played a show every New Year or Hogmanay which was first broadcast on radio and later television. "He became Mr New Year and through him, Auld Lang Syne the song of New Year. To this day it's still his version that plays when the ball drops on Times Square in New York." The fact is that we could be singing a very different version of Auld Lang Syne today. "The original tune that Burns intended is not the one that we sing now," revealed Chris. "The one we know is derived from an old Strathspey tune, but the older version is the one that Burns preferred and wanted. "The older version is actually making a bit of a comeback and, believe it or not, was in Sex and the City 2 – which featured a version of the old song by Mairi Campbell. "We're not really sure why one became more popular than the other," added Chris, "but the version that's best known, the one that is sung today, is to the tune of what was a very popular Scots' country dance song. So, when you join the chorus this Hogmanay and reflect on times past and the year ahead, you will not only maintain a link with Scotland's history but a connection with people the world over. "Although it's a song of parting and reflection, it's very positive as well," added Chris.