Do you hear what I hear?

Songs of healing and hope: Three stories behind some of the most enduring Christmas music of all time

Beautifully written music and song lyrics can inspire and uplift – even bring healing. So when selecting classic Christmas music for the BA’s “Home for the Holidays” concert, we wanted songs that would not just touch the heart, but also have a meaningful place in history.

Did you know? Below are three examples of music we chose for the BA Christmas concert, and a few interesting facts you may not be familiar with:

Do You Hear What I Hear,” made popular by Bing Crosby and Perry Como, was written in 1962 by a husband and wife team, Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne, to help promote a peaceful solution to the Cuban missile crisis. Regney, a former German soldier who supported the French Resistance during WWII, later became disillusioned by the commercialism around the holidays, but was eventually inspired to write the lyrics to this song …
Click here to learn more.
Irving Berlin(crop) “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, was first publicly released in the 1942 wartime movie “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The irony is that Berlin was Jewish, so writing Christmas music was not easy for him. By the end of WWII Bing Crosby’s recording of the song became the biggest selling single of all time, and remains the best selling Christmas single of all time. The famous 1954 movie musical, “White Christmas” with Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney, was the highest earning motion picture that year. Click here for NPR’s in-depth look at the origins and success of this classic song.
“Messiah” by George Frideric Handel, — Late in the summer of 1741 Handel locked himself away from society and started writing. According to historians, Handel composed “like a man obsessed,” rarely leaving his room or eating. In just twenty-four days he turned out 260 pages of music! Upon finishing the Hallelujah Chorus, Handel is said to have remarked: “I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself.” We found lots of great historical facts on Handel’s Messiah in an article on Smithsonian.com.

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