Editor’s note: Thanks to MPR Classical’s John Birge for this post.
“This song more or less is
The way one expresses
The spirit that blesses
Our Jesus today.”
The Reverend Bates Burt wrote those words for “Let Christmas Be Merry,” a carol he composed for Christmas 1933. For the 2011 holiday, Burt’s great-granddaughter, Abbie Burt Betinis, is still writing songs that express “the spirit that blesses” at Christmas.
Betinis carries on a family tradition begun in 1922 by her great-grandfather Bates Burt, and continued by Betinis’s great-uncle, Alfred Burt. Some of Alfred Burt’s carols, such as “Caroling, Caroling” and “The Star Carol” have become a part of the standard Christmas repertoire.
In the first video the “MPR Carolers” sing Betinis’ latest, “Come in, Come in, Come in Ye” — a fun and complex canon. In the second video the group sings last year’s carol — “Carol of the Snow” — based on a poem by Longfellow called “Snow-Flakes.”