This is how we've sung it from time long gone:We wish you a very merry birthday,a joyous and celebrated birthday,to you, dear [name,] [f/Friend(s)*],may you have a long, long life.*For multiple, but simultaneous, recipients when a string of names would be cumbrous.On May 5, 2015, at 11:48 PM, Erik Barry Erhardt wrote:I've always heard/sung it "To our dear Name, May he/she have a long, long life!"Substitute "they" or other pronouns as gender/genderfree suggests.On Tue, May 5, 2015 at 8:01 PM, Delia Clark via Organizers <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:I’ve actually always heard it sung with parallel grammar, a little differently from in Will’s video:
We wish you a happy birthday,
A joyous and celebrated birthday,
To you dear Susan,
May you live a long, happy life!
> On May 5, 2015, at 9:57 PM, Don Peabody via Organizers <email@example.com> wrote:
> Sung with gusto, who cares about grammar? But Quakers improved the torturous "ha--aa-aa--py" with "a very merry." Better poetry; scans with much more grace.
> On May 5, 2015, at 9:40 PM, Rob Lindauer via Organizers wrote:
>> The non-parallel grammar of the lyrics have always grated on me
>> On 05/05/2015 06:45 PM, William Loving via Organizers wrote:
>>> Dear Contra friends,
>>> With the help of a number of contributors I believe I finally have a good accounting of the origins of the now rapidly spreading “Contra Dance Birthday Round”. You can read all I’ve put together here on the Downtown Amherst Contra Dance website, with more details, links to recordings and sheet music:
>>> We’ve known for a long time that the song was composed in the 1950s or early 60s by Dorothy Dushkin, co-founder of the Kinhaven Music School & Camp in Weston, Vermont, but the origins of the tune have remained a mystery until recently. Some years ago, long-time contra dance caller Ralph Sweet came across an out-of-print Girl Scout songbook at a flea market, and in it he recognized a song that had the same melody as the birthday round. He bought the book, took it home and then, misplaced it for a time.
>>> In today’s mail, I received from Ralph a photocopy from that book with the song “Whene’er You Make a Promise”, written in 1828 by English composer William Shield, who also composed the tune to “Auld Lang Syne” (to lyrics from Robert Burns). The original lyrics are lovely and may also be familiar to anyone who was in the Girl Scouts or Girl Guides, this apparently having been sung as a campfire song for generations.
>>> When e're you make a promise,
>>> Consider well its importance
>>> Engrave it upon your heart.
>>> Will Loving
>>> Northampton, Massachusetts
>>> Organizers mailing list
>> Rob Lindauer
>> Organizers mailing list
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