Winter Wonderland (Smith and Bernard, arr. Philip Sparke)

This enduringly popular seasonal song has long been a Christmas favourite, even though the lyrics don’t mention ‘Christmas’ at all. The words were by Dick Smith (1901-1935) and the music by Felix Bernard (1897-1944); the inspiration was reportedly a visit by Smith to Honesdale’s (his hometown) Central Park when it was covered in snow.

The first recording was made by Richard Himber’s Ritz-Carlton Orchestra in 1934. According to Joey Nash, who was the vocalist on the recording, he was first shown the song by a fan who happened to be Dick Smith’s brother. It was scheduled to be part of the band's October 23, 1934 Victor recording session, but, because of technical difficulties, the recording session fell behind and studio time ran out before the song could be recorded. Although Himber himself had already left the studio, Nash persuaded his fellow band members to stay on to record the song. They agreed on the condition there would be only one take, and the song was later released by RCA.

The same year Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians, took the song to number 2 in the US Billboard Chart, where it stayed for 9 weeks. It has since been recorded by over 150 artists, the most successful versions being by Perry Como and the Andrews Sisters, both released in 1946.