When Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians played “Auld Lang Syne” at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan while ringing in the New Year of 1930, it wasn’t planned as anything other than a nostalgic song out of their regular repertoire. While the song had a tenuous connection to the show’s sponsor, that idea wasn’t set in stone. It was just a tune that they sometimes used to end their set. They had no plans to repeat it every year. But it eventually became “the” song of the New Year holiday.
“Auld Lang Syne” might not have become the tradition that it is if it weren’t for the fact that the University of Virginia liked the Canadian orchestra, and hired them for various campus events and celebrations. And the fact that the band would party with the UVA fraternities afterward. Read what happened and how those parties contributed to our holiday traditions at Atlas Obscura.
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