Best remembered for "The Syncopated Clock" and the holiday classic "Sleigh Ride," Leroy Anderson was one of America's most popular composers of light, melodic orchestral music. A talented conductor and arranger to boot, he had a particular knack for creating humorous sound effects with standard orchestral instruments and percussion. Anderson was born June 29, 1908, in Cambridge, MA, into a family of Swedish immigrants. His mother played the organ in church, and gave her young son lessons; starting at age 11, he studied piano at the New England Conservatory of Music, and also took private lessons on the double bass. He entered Harvard in 1925 to study music, playing both trombone and double bass in the orchestra; he also sang in the glee club and joined the marching band as drum major and arranger (some of his arrangements of collegiate songs are still performed at Harvard). After graduation, he stayed around to earn his master's degree, then took a teaching post at Radcliffe College; he also directed the marching band from 1931-1935, performed as a freelance organist and bassist, and continued his graduate studies in German and Scandinavian languages.