Christmas is almost here! All the shopping is in high gear and preparations for the festive meal are being made. I thought we might have some fun this week with some short histories of a few standard Christmas carols.
"The First Noel" is one of the best known Christmas carols dating back to 17th century England. The version we sing today had its roots in the 1820s.
"Silent Night" originated in Germany. Although Fr. Joseph Mohr had written the lyrics to "Stille Nacht" in 1816, he made it public in 1818 when his parish's organ went on the fritz and could not be repaired by Christmas Eve. The song was quickly given music for a guitar and the tune has stuck as a Christmas standard. In 1859, American Episcopal Bishop John Freeman Young translated the words to English and this has become the most sung version around the world.
"O Little Town of Bethlehem" was the product of an Episcopal priest, Phillips Brooks. He penned the words in 1868, three years after a trip to the birthplace of Jesus. The church organist wrote the words, and a classic was born!
"Angels We Have Heard on High" was originally published in 1862. It is based on the French hymn "Gloria."
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is a traditional English carol first published in 1833. However, the author is unknown.
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was originally published in a collection by Charles Wesley in 1739. This version had a slower tempo, but a more upbeat tempo has developed over the years.
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" was written by Unitarian minister Edmund Sears in 1849.
"O Christmas Tree" is based on the German traditional song, "O Tannenbaum." The version we know was published in 1824.
"What Child is This," was published in 1865 by William Chatterton Dix while he was bedridden with illness. He wrote the words and set it to the traditional English tune, "Greensleeves." The tune is so old that Shakespeare made reference to it.
"O Holy Night" was published in 1847 based on a French poem.
HOLIDAY NOTE: I want to thank you all for a great year. It has been my pleasure to serve as the Representative from the 51st District. I will take a break from the Capitol Report for the rest of this year, so let me wish you a safe and joyful holiday season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2014!
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working me to make Missouri a great place to live.