Friday, November 6, 2015

ED BIZ | Fundraising, Harvard 1945

Mason Gaffney, born Oct. 18,
1923.
Lyrics posted for "When the Saints Go
Marching In."
Joe Bain, volunteer class agent, Harvard College Class of 1945, sent an email to economics professor Mason Gaffney.

Class agents collect news from alumni and help with "friend-raising" and fundraising.

I was sent a copy of a part of his email, in which he says to his class:
Social Security Actuarial Tables (2011) indicate that a 92-year-old man has a life expectancy of 3.4 years and that out of 184 surviving '45ers, only 11 will reach 100. 
The message might be construed as – "Get your affairs in order so that whatever you are leaving to Harvard can be handled with a minimum of testamentary hassle. Gaffney responded in a letter addressed to his entire class:
So the actuaries say 11 of us will reach 100, eh? Well "I want to be in that number, when the cents go marching in", and I will be. I expect there will more than 10 more of you, too. 
There are no shortcuts in this race, though, so keep your sense of humor and leave 'em laughing when we go!
End of this story.

However, I was curious who wrote "When the Saints Come Marching In," and dug up some more information. I have excerpted below from a much longer exposition in JazzStandards.com:
“When the Saints Go Marching In” was popularized by Louis Armstrong who first recorded it on May 13, 1938, and [...] and some 40 times since then. [...] Armstrong had grown up knowing the gospel tune, played somberly for funerals by the marching bands that accompanied the mourners to the graveyard and played joyously on their return. Armstrong’s lively recording of the tune [...] transformed it into the jazz standard we know today, closely associated with New Orleans’ Dixieland bands and performed by musicians of every style. So well known is the song that it is commonly referred to as “The Saints.” [...] In 1951 the Weavers (Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman) recorded it with Leo Diamond and His Orchestra. [...] Throughout the years Armstrong constantly changed his performance of “The Saints,” and he is captured on film at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival (Jazz on a Summer’s Day) and with Danny Kaye in the 1958 film The Five Pennies. New Orleans is now famous worldwide as the city of jazz and the marching song, “When the Saints Go Marching In”.