If you've lived in Oklahoma any time at all, you know the song, and delight in finding others who know it too no matter where in the world you are.
For a good percentage of the population, it's how we know the Christmas Season has begun.
The B.C. Clark's “Anniversary Sale” jingle is dear to Oklahoman's hearts and when the jeweler and its advertising agency Traction Marketing Group decide to film people singing the jingle, people of all ages come in to try out.
This year on Black Friday, cameras were set up outside the Penn Square jewelry store and group after group stood and sang for their brief chance at fame.
This year, I decided it was time to check this off my bucket list and I brought along my nephew Taner Davis and my sister-in-law Paulette Davis to sing with me. Taner is a freshman and music composition major at the University of Oklahoma, and a former All-State Choir member and Soloist, so he was our ace-in-the-hole.
We waited until the taping was winding down before we sang, but we got there early enough to chat with all sorts of folks who were singing too.
Kathy Davenport came in from Dallas and brought her 90-year-old mother Helen Davenport, who loves in Oklahoma City, to sing together.
“I've known this song over 50 years,” Helen Davenport said.
She did not exaggerate. Al Fiegel wrote the jingle in 1956 and the original song was recorded in Dallas, so it seemed appropriate the duo sang together.
They did it twice, each time finishing with a flourish, holding out their arms at the end.
When a walking Christmas tree went by, everyone looked.
Sarah Burnett was inside the festive costume and was accompanied by Joan Johnson and Linda Neikirk, all of Norman, and Lea Noe, also from Dallas.
The other ladies wore tinseled headbands and cuddled with the tree as they sang.
A lot of families sang together, many with children too young to even know they were on camera.
A group of ladies who sing as 4Hymn used a pitch pipe to begin, and their perfect harmony brought an audience. Barbara Underwood, Jaque Glaglow, Dawn Henderson and Mandy Latham practiced in the bathroom for 15 minutes before their performance.
A group of one adult man and four children trying their best charmed everyone. It was the fourth time Rick Vickrey from Minco has tried out. His back-up singers were 6-year-old Hadley Vickrey,, 9-year-old Talin Vickrey, 2-year-old Paisley Vickrey and 5-year-old Addison DuVall.
“It was easy,” Talin said proudly.
Just before my group sang before the camera, we decided to add a big Broadway-type finale to ours, and we sang it twice for the camera.
I have to admit, it was a lot of fun.
Mitchell Clark is the fourth generation jeweler, and he was on hand the whole time. He knows the jingle's history from its beginning to now.
“In the 1960s, we went with a different jingle,” he said. “It started to run and calls starting coming in. We realized how many people loved the jingle and put the original one back on the air.”
He confessed he had seen a lot of unique things in the years they have taped the public singing the jingle, which started in 1982. Today, he had seen a group use American Sign Language sing it just after 10 a.m.
“People sing it to me all the time,” Clark said. “It's fun.”
After noon, the line was gone and people walked up to try out, or Smith would ask shoppers walking by if they'd like to sing. Whatever the reason, there were no great gaps in time.
Smith is the second generation of ad men to work on the jingle.
“It's eye-opening. We have an Oklahoma icon, and my job is to protect it,” Smith said. “It's the most fun account to work on.”
This year's auditions went so well there are three commercials featuring singers, as well as the traditional animated one featuring Santa Claus.
All the commercials are available on YouTube, and on The Jingle's Facebook page.
4Hymn, the sign language singers and the Vickreys' group are in the first commercial.
Sarah Burnett's Christmas Tree and her group are in the second commercial, which is beautifully ended by mother and daughter Davenport.
The third commercial is ended by the Davis trio. Yes, that's me with the big smile and white hair.
As Taner wrote on this Facebook page:
Sing BC Clark's Jingle for TV: