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In Memory February 05, 2024

In Memory of Norm Buerklin

Frederick "Norm" Buerklin, Santa Claus for the Boston Pops from 1987 to 2019, passed away on January 15, 2024

Statement from Keith Lockhart

Every Christmas in the Lockhart household, we put a small, framed picture on the wall. It's the album art from Sleigh Ride, my second holiday album here. In it, Santa and I peer down through the clouds over the front rail of his sleigh. It's always been my favorite album cover.

When my boys were younger, the picture served as a stern reminder to them that I knew Santa...knew him so well, in fact, that he let me ride in the sleigh. Any planned rebellion or backtalk quickly dissipated, with that little reminder that I had a direct line to the Big Guy.

For thousands of children who came to Symphony Hall over the course of thirty years, Norm Buerklin was Santa. He was Santa for me, too. When he put on the suit, there was something in his demeanor...a timeless feeling of patience and love, maybe...that renewed my belief.

Thank you, Norm, for the smiles you brought to thousands of faces, and the joy you brought to the heart of childhood. What a blessing it must be, not just to play Santa, but to be Santa.