WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/713244

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Page 91 of 211

Donald Yetter Gardner 1913-2004 Composed "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" FINAL RESTING PLACE: Woodlawn Cemetery, Wellesley. A SONG IS BORN: As a music teacher in 1944 at a school in Smithtown, Long Island, he was stumped for a song for the second graders to perform at the Christmas con- cert. For inspiration, he sat in on a class. The teacher asked the kids about their wish lists. "They were all using the same phrase, 'All I want for Christmas," Gardner told The Wellesley Townsman. "Then, the teacher said something funny, and they all laughed, and I noticed that 16 of the 22 in the class were missing their front teeth." TOPPING THE CHARTS: Spike Jones' recording was the No. 1 song for the first week of 1949. Song was also recorded or performed by Nat King Cole (Gardner's favorite, says son Richard), Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Boston Pops, and the gang at Sesame Street. Recorded as well in Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Japan. BEYOND "FRONT TEETH": Worked for textbook publisher Ginn & Co., moving to Boston in 1957 as music editor. Composed many songs for textbooks anonymously and published church anthems. NEIGHBORHOOD STARS: Lived on Bay State Road in Wellesley for 35 years, where he and his wife, Doris, raised three sons. Couple hosted informal concerts for neigh- bors, and Doris was a popular music teacher. CHURCH FAVORITES: The Gardners sang in the Chancel Choir at Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, which has performed his anthems "Man Shall Not Live by Bread Alone" and "O, Give Thanks Unto the Lord." SYMPHONY TRADITION: "Front Teeth" has been per- formed at Holiday Pops concerts of Wellesley Symphony since early '90s. For the last decade, the orchestra has held a contest for children to guest solo in the song. Among the earliest winners: Gardner's great granddaugh- ter Sophia Burns. The orchestra has also performed another whimsical Gardner piece, "The Weather Song." UNSUNG ACHIEVEMENT: Scored a hole-in-one at Nehoiden Golf Club in Wellesley. EARLY LIFE: Raised in Portland, Pennsylvania., gradu- ated from West Chester (Pa.) University. 90 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 6 IN WELLESLEY Donald Gardner (center) with family members P H O T O S C O U R T E S Y O F M I C K E Y G O L D I N A N D T H E W E L L E S L E Y S Y M P H O N Y O R C H E S T R A

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