Friday Factoid: “Silent Night”

christmas-truce–By Brandon
“Silent Night” was composed in 1818 by Franz Gruber in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria, which Choir of the Sound will be visiting on our 2017 summer tour. The lyrics were previously written by Father Joseph Mohr, and the song was performed at the Christmas Eve mass in 1818. The English version was translated in 1859. The song famously figured in the Christmas truce of 1914 during World War I, as it was one of the carols German and British soldiers both knew. UNESCO dubbed this song an intangible cultural heritage in 2011. Bing Crosby’s single is the third best-selling single of all time, after his version of “White Christmas.”
Member reflection: I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in a German Lutheran community that took its heritage seriously. In kindergarten, we learned “Silent Night” in the original German, and went with 1st and 2nd graders to sing carols at the church-affiliated retirement home that our parents called the Altenheim; “Stille Nacht” never failed to bring tears. For me it remains the quintessential music of Christmas Eve, the hushed, wondering pause between the frantic preparations and raucous joy of Christmas Day. Linda