We are currently experiencing an error with this video. Our team is working to resolve the issue.

Watch The Music & the Spoken Word each week. Subscribe on YouTube today!

January 01, 2023 - #4868 Music & the Spoken Word

The Music & the Spoken Word broadcast airs live via TV, radio, and internet stream on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. mountain time. For information on other airtimes, visit “Airing Schedules” at


Conductors: Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy
Organists: Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, Linda Margetts, and Joseph Peeples
Announcer: Lloyd Newell
With The Bells at Temple Square

“I Think the World Is Glorious”1
Music: Alexander Schreiner
Lyricist: Anna Johnson
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare”2
Music: Dmitri Bortniansky
Lyricist: Joseph Addison
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

Improvisation on “Hymn to Joy” (organ solo)
Music: Ludwig van Beethoven
Arrangement: Richard Elliott

“Down to the River to Pray”3
Composer and Lyricist: American folk hymn
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Tree of Life”4
Music: Mack Wilberg
Lyricist: David Warner
With Bells at Temple Square

“Auld Lang Syne”
Music and Lyrics: Traditional song
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Standing on the Promises”5
Music and Lyricist: Russell K. Carter
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

  1. From the album Teach Me to Walk in the Light.
  2. From the album This Is The Christ.
  3. From the album Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.
  4. From the album Tree of Life.
  5. From the album Let Us All Press On.

The Spoken Word

Auld Lang Syne

(Recorded in Scotland)

Here in this cottage in the Scottish lowlands during the late 1700s, the poet Robert Burns was born and lived his early life. The Burns family were tenant farmers. Here they worked the land, ate their meals together, and gathered by the hearth at night to read. In their village of Alloway, Scotland, about 60 kilometers south of Glasgow, young Robert’s poetic imagination was kindled. From this humble beginning, Burns rose to fame and left an enduring legacy as the national poet of Scotland.

The best-known poem attributed to Burns is “Auld Lang Syne.” However, it did not appear in print until shortly after his death, at age 37, in 1796. And Burns himself reported that he heard the words “from an old man’s singing.”1 Whether Burns composed the poem, adapted it, or simply recorded it, “Auld Lang Syne” has been associated with Burns ever since.

The poem was soon paired with a traditional folk tune, and today it is sung as a part of New Year’s celebrations around the world. And yet, because of its origins in the Scots language, not everyone is familiar with the significance of the phrase “auld lang syne.” In modern English it literally means “old long since”—or, in other words, days gone by, times that have long since passed but we remember with fondness.

And so as we sing, year in and year out, we ask ourselves:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne?

In our rush for the new and different, the latest and greatest, the song asks, will the “old long since” be forgotten? The old friendships, the relationships, the memories of days gone by—can we hold on to the old as we also embrace the new that lies ahead? The truth is, we need remembrances of the past. They ground us in the present and help move us confidently into the future. Just as the people and the beautiful land of Scotland shaped Robert Burns, we are shaped by the people and places we have known, our old long since. So as we say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new, let the “auld lang syne” never be forgotten.

  1. Letters of Robert Burns, sel. J. Logie Robertson (1887), 337.