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Favorite pieces of music

Ann Swanson

We learned all types of music from the classical to the current modern ones when I was in the school chorus. We even sang some carols in foreign languages. That was always a challenge. I am not sure if anyone who spoke the language would have understood us.

I participated in the chorus from grade school through high school. I have always enjoyed singing. My family and I also sang in church for the years when my children were teens. I know a lot of songs by heart.

It was not long until my children began playing guitars. They took them along when we sang although we usually had piano accompaniment. To say that was my husband’s passion would be correct. I am not sure the rest of us enjoyed it as much as he did, but we went along with it.

On Sunday afternoons we would go into the music room. I would play the organ or piano and we would sing. I guess you could say we practiced. Since Dick milked cows it was a struggle to get us all ready for church on time. My job was to be out of the bathroom when the family came home from the barn. Many times, we were a little late for church but were there in plenty of time to sing.

One of my favorite Christmas carols was “Silent Night.” I know all of the verses by heart since I sang it so much. When we went Christmas caroling, we only sang one or two verses. There is just something so peaceful about this song. I went to my handy little book of hymns and found “Silent Night.”

“Silent Night was composed by Franz Gruber and translated into English by John Young. Joseph Mohr wrote the words. It dates back to the early 1800s so it is easily one of the oldest carols. What I really like is the harmony of the song. I taught myself to harmonize by singing along with the radio while I was doing the dishes.

Father Mohr and Gruber had often joked about the fact that the perfect Christmas song had not been written. Gruber, an area teacher or schoolmaster as they called it in his day took the words that Father Mohr wrote and turned them into a hymn of praise. They intended the song to be used locally. It is said that an organ repairman took the song and popularized it throughout Austria and Germany. It was brought to the United States when a group of singers used it in their concert. Now, it is among the most famous of the Christmas carols.

A modern song that I really like is “Mary Did You Know?” That song was written by Mark Lowry who was at the Warren County Fair one year. I got to meet him as well as do an interview with him. We actually did the interview with my computer before he came.

I purchased a book with the words to that song. Imagine a young girl finding out she was pregnant with the Savior of the World. She was engaged to be married but had never slept with the man. What was he to think when he found her pregnant?

He could have rejected her but because the angel appeared to him, he did not. He accepted Mary to be his wife but remained chaste until after the baby was delivered.

They were even provided with a name for the baby. The bible says the name should be Jesus.

From PrintaSong.com, I include the words to this song. It tells a whole story.

Mary, did you know

That your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Did you know

That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know

That your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that you delivered

Will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know

That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Did you know

That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand?

Did you know

That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

And when you kiss your little boy

You’ve kissed the face of God.

Mary, did you know?

The blind will see

The deaf will hear

And the dead will live again

The lame will leap

The dumb will speak

The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know

That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Did you know

That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

This sleeping child you’re holding

Is the Great I Am!

I love the story that this song tells. It is not only the Christmas story but the story of Christ. As you prepare to celebrate the Christmas season be sure to say to those you meet, “Merry Christmas” because it is this child that we celebrate.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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