Buffalo, NY (WBEN) -- It was 70 years ago on this date -- December 9, 2012 -- that the ballet Gayane was first performed by Russia's Kirov Ballet.
The reason why that's of note to Western New Yorkers: it marked the introduction of a unique piece of classical music, the "Sabre Dance."
Written by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian, and based on a folk melody in the middle section, the music was an instant hit for its fast tempo and intense rhythm.
Years later, it would become an unusual footnote, when the Buffalo Sabres adopted it as their de facto theme song. It was quite possibly the first time an American pro sports team used classical music for a theme song.
It was reportedly the team owners -- the Knox brothers -- who came up with the idea of using the stirring music as the players hit the ice. Original organist Norm Wullen could probably have played it in his sleep after a while.
There even was a figure skater named Sundae Bafo who performed to the Sabre Dance theme between periods, during the Sabres' inaugural season of 1970-71.
For years, the TV broadcasts of Sabres games made liberal use of the music, and also added a rock guitar version by Dave Edmunds' early band Love Sculpture.
When Terry Pegula purchased the team, he solicited suggestions from the fans, and one of the first ones he implemented was the return of the Sabre Dance theme song.