Past, Present, Future

Denis at his retirement party
Denis and colleagues at his College of Notre Dame retirement party, 2000

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

In days of auld lang syne?

"Auld Lang Syne" revisited

--Chapter 2--

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other chapters
and recordings:

Chapter 1: Introduction
Denis Moreen, 2015

Chapter 2: Past, Present, Future
Denis Retirement Party, 2000

Chapter 3: The Twelve Songs of Christmas
Moreen family Christmas tree, 1943

Chapter 4: Standing on Many Corners
New Trier HS West corners, 1968

Chapter 5: Showtime at Five O'Clock
Showtime at Five O'Clock

Chapter 6: Chicago Off-Off-Off Broadway
Northwestern University Music School

Chapter 7: San Francisco Off-Off-Off Broadway
College of Notre Dame Ralston Hall

Chapter 8: Palm Springs Off-Off-Off Broadway
Rancho Mirage Library

Chapter 9: With a Song in My Heart
New Trier High School

Chapter 10: Index of Performers and Songs
Lakeside Drive, 2017

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.

Mauri Campbell and Dave Francis
Campbell and Frances, 1999

Auld Lang Syne, arranged and performed by Mauri Campbell and Dave Frances, 1999

. . . We'll take a cup of kindness yet

Auld 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?

Denis and friends
Brother Bob, Partner Rob, Denis, Sister Pam and Nephew Mike,
with Ted Klinka in second row under chandelier, 2000

Auld Lang Syne, arranged and performed by Denis, 2000

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Butchie and Rob, 1980
Butchie and Rob, 1980