Well – we’ve been in this town for a little over two weeks – and my poor detachment is moving for the 3rd time – but we’re so darned used to it – we’re not concerned very much. We’ve finally attained a large building which will house the whole battalion and everyone is moving in today – except Able battery which will remain in Metz – at least for now. The general set-up will be good, because the building is downtown and will be very convenient for the men when on pass. So in about an hour or so, after sick-call, we’ll be moving once more.
Yesterday I got two letters – none from you. Both letters, though, were interesting. One was from Lou Rogol – a fellow I’ve told you about – who was with 5th Army in Italy and was sent home on rotation. He’s happy, of course, having been married and having a wife with him; but he’s still being shifted around. This time he wrote me from Ft. Meade, Maryland, and he believes that should be fairly permanent now. He had been at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma – before then.
The other letter was quite a surprise. It was from ‘that Blonde’ German woman I defended in Stolberg. I’ll be darned if I know where she got my address, although it would have been easy enough. The letter was addressed to me by a Lieutenant whom I don’t know – with his return address on the envelope. As she explained in the letter, he is a ‘friend’ of some of her friends and she asked him to mail the letter. He stuck his neck out, too, because if the letter were opened, he’d really be in trouble. What she had to say was that she thanked me for my troubles in her behalf last winter, that she had finally been cleared of all charges (I had left before I knew that for certain.) She wanted to know how I was, if I had gotten thru the war safely and would I visit her and her mother if I had the chance. Well – needless to say, dear, it was all rather surprising. I told the boys about it and got quite a ‘riding’. Of course I won’t answer it.
Say – in the letter I got from you the day before yesterday, you mentioned the possibility of your dropping over to Magnolia and visiting the Casino. You brought back memories of my Beverly days, dear. We used to go there often – and it’s one of the nicest spots to go dancing and dining that I’ve ever been to. I wonder if Ruby Newman still runs it. We got to know him fairly well. I know the fellow who did – and still does his arrangements, a Roy Anderson who majored in music at Harvard. He directed the Band the years I played in it.
Gosh sweetheart how I’d love to be taking you to a place like that! It’s so romantic – although I know I can be romantic with you anywhere and anytime. Just give me the chance! Jeepers – I sure could do with a little of your loving, darling! I’m really missing you these days, more than I’ve let you know. I’ve mentioned before – that with the tension of combat gone – I have more time to think of you and us – and more time to regret our continued being apart. But they are moving men out – way ahead of schedule – and sooner of later – they must come to us – or me. I’m waiting and praying for that day – and so hard! I love you dearly, sweetheart – and I want so much to show you what I mean.
Gotta stop now and clear out. Hope to her from you today – but things will be a bit mixed up because everyone’s moving – including the mail clerk. My love to the folks, dear, regards to Mary – and remember – you have and will always have
Leroy Anderson (Leh-ROY', not LEE'-roy; 29 June 1908 – 18 May 1975) was an American composer of short, light concert pieces, many of which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. John Williams described him as "one of the great American masters of light orchestral music."
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Swedish parents, Anderson was given his first piano lessons by his mother, who was a church organist. He continued studying piano at the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1925 Anderson entered Harvard University, where he studied theory with Walter Spalding, counterpoint with Edward Ballantine, harmony with George Enescu, composition with Walter Piston and double bass with Gaston Dufresne. He also studied organ with Henry Gideon. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929 and Master of Arts in 1930.
Anderson continued studying at Harvard, working towards a PhD in German and Scandinavian languages. Anderson spoke English and Swedish during his youth but he eventually became fluent in Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, German, French, Italian, and Portuguese. During this time he was also working as organist and choir director at the East Milton Congregational Church, leading the Harvard University Band, and conducting and arranging for dance bands around Boston. His arranging work came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler in 1936 and Anderson was asked to show Fiedler any original compositions. Anderson's first work was Jazz Pizzicato in 1938. Fiedler suggested that a companion piece be written and thus Anderson wrote Jazz Legato in 1938.
In 1942 Leroy "Roy" Anderson joined the U.S. Army, and was assigned to Iceland as a translator and interpreter. Later in 1945 he was assigned to the Pentagon as Chief of the Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence. But his duties did not prevent him from composing, and in 1945 he wrote "The Syncopated Clock" and "Promenade." Anderson was a reserve officer and was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. In 1951 Anderson wrote his first hit, "Blue Tango," earning a Golden Disc and the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts.
His pieces and his recordings during the fifties conducting a studio orchestra were immense commercial successes. "Blue Tango" was the first instrumental recording ever to sell one million copies. His most famous pieces are probably "Sleigh Ride" and "The Syncopated Clock", both of which are instantly recognizable to millions of people. In 1950, WCBS-TV in New York City selected "Syncopated Clock" as the theme song for The Late Show, the WCBS late-night movie. Mitchell Parish added words to "Syncopated Clock", and later wrote lyrics for other Anderson tunes, including "Sleigh Ride", which was not written as a Christmas piece, but as a work that describes a winter event.
Anderson started the work during a heat wave in August 1946. He finished the work in February 1948. The Boston Pops' recording of it in 1949 was the first pure orchestral piece to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Music chart. "Sleigh Ride" became the signature song for the orchestra. The orchestra has also recorded the song with John Williams, their conductor from 1979 to 1995, and Keith Lockhart, their current conductor. Lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter's day with another person, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950. Leroy Anderson recorded his own version of "Sleigh Ride" in 1950. This recording hit the Cashbox magazine best sellers chart when re-released in 1952.
Although "Sleigh Ride" is often associated with Christmas, and often appears on Christmas compilation albums, the song's lyrics never specifically mention any holiday or religion (apart from certain recordings, such as those by the Carpenters, Walter Schumann and Air Supply, that substitute "Christmas party" for "birthday party" in the song's bridge). In fact, the mention of "pumpkin pie" in the last verse might suggest an association with Thanksgiving rather than Christmas.
According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers [ASCAP] review of Christmas music, "Sleigh Ride" consistently ranks in the top 10 list of most performed songs written by ASCAP members during the Christmas season worldwide. The song retains its appeal. ASCAP named "Sleigh Ride" the most popular piece of Christmas music in the USA for the consecutive years, 2010 and 2011, based on performance data tracked by airplay monitoring service, Mediaguide, from over 2,500 radio stations nationwide. The most performed artist version of "Sleigh Ride" was the original instrumental version as recorded by Leroy Anderson.
According to author, Steve Metcalf, in his book, Leroy Anderson: A Bio-Bibliography (Praeger 2004),
"Sleigh Ride" ... has been performed and recorded by a wider array of musical artists than any other piece in the history of Western music."Here are Roy Anderson's two signature songs, "Sleigh Ride" (instrumental and with voice) and "Syncopated Clock".
as conducted by Leroy Anderson:
Sleigh Ride (with Vocals)
Sung by Amy Grant:
performed by Arthur Fiedler's Boston Pops: