Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

One of my favorite traditions for the holidays is going up to Temple Square and hearing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform in their annual Christmas concert. I love seeing all the lights, and being part of the large crowd that bravely faces the cold in Salt Lake City.

The choir always invites the best guests and has the best program, and this year was no exception. Guest singer Brian Stokes Mitchell wowed the crowd with his vocal range, but it was Edward Herrmann's reading of
Longfellow's Christmas that stole the show.
Many people know American author and poet Henry W. Longfellow from such works as The Village Blacksmith, Evangeline, Song of Hiawatha, The Children's Hour and The Courtship of Miles Standish. However, he also wrote one of the most beloved Christmas carols, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Originally a poem, it was later edited and set to music, and is now sung all over the world.

Edward Herrmann powerfully tells the story
behind the story of Longfellow's tragedy that inspired this beautiful poem. His wife was burned to death in their home, and he himself suffered severe burns after trying to save her. She was later buried on their anniversary.

During that time, America was in the midst of Civil War (with no end in sight), when Longfellow received news that his son, Charles, was seriously wounded. Rushing to his side, they reunited on Christmas Day, and it was shortly thereafter that he created the words to the now famous song. (For the full story, please click

Mr. Herrmann's powerful re-telling, coupled with the choir singing, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, was absolutely outstanding. Every time you hear that song, I hope you remember the wonderful story behind the story. Merry Christmas!


Ann Marie said...

Edward...*sigh* J/K.
I hope one year will will win a lottery and be able to see a concert in person. You are so lucky you got to be there...
What a wonderful way to celebrate the Christmas Season. Love it!

Suzanne said...

I LOVE to know the stories and history about songs. That was FANTASTIC!! Thank you for sharing that! I am jealous that you got tickets, I'm not bitter! J/k -Suzanne

Marie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story! I love learning the history of the songs and hearing about people who are able to overcome. :D