By Tom PurcellI dream of “White Christmas” this year.I speak of the Irving Berlin classic made famous by Bing Crosby – a sweet, wistful song that holds more power over me with each passing year.According to CBS News, many speculate that Berlin was inspired to write the song in the late 1930s, while working on a movie in Beverly Hills and feeling homesick for his family in New York.The holiday season was especially challenging for him. His three-week-old son had died on Christmas 1928. Berlin visited his grave every Christmas, and the sadness of his son’s death also influenced the song.Berlin had set the half-finished song aside for a few years before finishing it during the Christmas season of 1940 or 1941.Only 54 words, it would become a quintessentially American song – one that, to me, celebrates the American civility, prosperity and opportunity that Berlin was blessed to experience.According to PBS.org , Berlin’s family fled to America from Russia when he was 5 to escape persecution of Jews.His family “arrived in New York in 1893, settling in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Compelled by poverty to work rather than attending school, Berlin made money by singing on streetcorners and later secured a job as a singing waiter at the Pelham Cafe. During this time, he also began writing songs of his own … .”Berlin would go on to produce “an outpouring of ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the (20th) century,” says the Songwriters Hall of Fame.“Irving Berlin has no place in American music – he is American music,” said composer Jerome Kern.In any event, “White Christmas” offers a blend of melancholy and hopefulness, expressing a longing for snow-blanketed Christmases when “treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow” and hope that our days will be “merry and bright.”The song premiered on Crosby’s radio show in December 1941, just 18 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a highly emotional time for America. Eight months later, Crosby was featured singing the song in the movie “Holiday Inn.”However, critics “didn’t take much notice” of the song at first, according to Jody Rosen, author of “White Christmas: the Story of an American Song.”She told CBS News that it wasn’t until Armed Forces Radio began to play the song that it struck a chord.“It was 1942, the first winter that American troops had spent overseas,” she said. “So, these images of … snowy American, New Englandy Christmas really spoke to the longing, nostalgia and homesickness of the troops for their homeland and for the sweethearts and wives and mothers and fathers they’d left behind.”And it spoke to a common longing for the civility, unity, sacrifice and hopefulness that all Americans were experiencing at that time.Well, “White Christmas” is just as relevant now as it ever was – maybe more so.Its sweet, wistful melody and lyrics make me long for renewed civility, unity, sacrifice and hopefulness – the same things, I believe, all Americans are longing for.“We are not enemies, but friends,” said President Abraham Lincoln in his first inaugural address, whose message still resonates in 2017.“We must not be enemies,” Lincoln said. “Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”Civility, unity, sacrifice and hopefulness – a great coming together.That’s what I dream of for Christmas this year.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Warburtons’ MD BRETT WARBURTON is to become executive director from April, with current finance director Robert Higginson taking over as MD. Brett Warburton, who has been MD for six years, will now focus on quality and technical matters. Mr Higginson takes up the position following five years as finance director. He will chair the operations board and join the main board of Warburtons.Cereform has reshaped its board of directors to aid further growth. Changes follow the appointment of MARK TURNER as MD of Cereform Europe. Mr Turner joined the company in 2002 as finance director and became interim MD in 2004. IAN SMITH takes on the title of finance director, after working for Gallaher Group, Norsk Hydro and Allied Bakeries. STEVE CUTHBERT has been promoted from head of manufacturing to manufacturing director. He joined Cereform two years ago, following 25 years at British Sugar.Cereform has also expanded its sales team. ANDREW DINSDALE, who was sales executive, plant bread, has been promoted to plant bread controller. He has worked for 14 years in the baking industry. GILBERT VAN DER WAL joins the company as technical support manager. DAVID LETTS also comes to the team as business controller for Allied Bakeries. And MARK DIMMOCK, previously part of the technical support team, is now Cereform’s new plant bread sales executive.Puratos UK has expanded its commercial team with three new appointments to support future growth in the bakery, patisserie and chocolate ingredients market. PAULINE FERROL joins the company to head up the artisans and distributors sales team. She previously worked for Coca-Cola for 11 years. JJAMES WILLIAMS comes to the team as business account manager, with responsibility for driving business forward in the retail sector. He previously worked for Greencore’s sandwich division. And BINA PATEL takes on the new role of category marketing manager, joining the company from Daymon Worldwide working within Sainsbury’s.The European Independent Purchasing Company (EIPC), which manages all purchasing and the supply chain for sandwich retailer Subway in Europe, has appointed STEVE FITZSIMMONS as purchasing manager. Mr Fitzsimmons will hold responsibility for purchasing equipment, non-food products and services. He previously worked in foodservice procurement and project management with Safeway. Mexican and regional American food supplier Discovery Foods has taken on PAUL AGGETT as its first dedicated training manager. Based at the group’s Sonora Foods factory in Daventry, Northamptonshire, Mr Aggett will be responsible for the training and personal development of the group’s 350 employees, including the development of training standards and training programmes.Inkjet and laser technology firm Domino Printing Sciences has appointed former human resource manager VICKI SANDERSON to the role of group human resources director following the retirement of Roger Bishop after 15 years with the firm.