Behind the Song: Deep River

Deep River is an African-American spiritual with unknown origins. The song was first printed in the 1876,  The Story of the Jubilee Singers: With Their Songs, by J. B. T. Marsh. In 1917, Harry T. Burleigh completed the last of several influential arrangements. The song became very popular in recitals of the early 20th Century. The song was used in […]

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Behind the Hymn: Hold the Fort

Ira Sankey wrote “Mr. Bliss said to me once, not long before his death, that he hoped that he would not be known to posterity only as the author of Hold the Fort, for he believed that he had written many better songs. However, when I attended the dedication of the Bliss monument, at Rome, Pennsylvania, I found these words […]

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Behind the Hymn: A Great and Mighty Wonder

A great and mighty wonder is a little-known Christmas Carol.  The hymn is German in origin. The hymn was written by St. Germanus I. He was born in Constantinople of a patrician family in 634 Greece. He was ordained in Constantinople and subsequently became bishop of Cyzicus. He was present at the Synod of Constantinople in 712, which restored the […]

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Eyewitness to Christmas: Wise Men Follow a Star

 Last time, we took a look at who the wise men were. Matthew does not tell us how many wise men there were or their names. However, Armenian tradition identifies the “Magi of Bethlehem” as Balthasar of Arabia, Melchior of Persia, and Gaspar {Caspar} of India. The Western Christian Church has accepted this tradition and regards these three men as saints. The wise men have […]

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