St. Lawrence University Benefits From Top Christmas Tune

Newswise – “The Divine Miss M” (Bette Midler), folk-pop singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan, country artist Brad Paisley and Bonu Gibson & New Orleans Hot Jazz will all be helping out St. Lawrence University this holiday season. They are among the musicians who have released new recordings of the song “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” for which partial royalties are paid to St. Lawrence.

The eternal holiday favorite was composed – with others – by J. Kimball Gannon, who graduated from the University in 1924. Gannon also composed St. Lawrence’s alma mater, “The Scarlet and the Brown.” Gannon passed away in 1974 and his will stipulated that St. Lawrence receive 30 percent of the royalties from all of his compositions after his wife’s death. His widow, Norma Allen Gannon, St. Lawrence Class of 1925, passed away in 2000.

Thus far in 2006, royalty payments to the University have amounted to over $21,000.

A very popular composer during the “swing era,” Gannon received three Academy Award nominations for his work. Of all of his songs, however, none is as popular as “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” It is estimated that there are over 300 recorded versions of the tune; none is as popular as the original, recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943. ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) states that it is the 12th-most-performed holiday song (out of 25) for 2006.

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