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The text to O Little Town of Bethlehem is attributed to Phillips Brooks (1835 - 1893), an Episcopal priest from Philadelphia who also served as a bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts, and a rector of Trinity Church in Boston. Brooks attended the Boston Latin School in his youth, and graduated from Harvard in 1855. He later studied for the ministry in the seminary at Alexandria, VA. Although he declined a position as Professor of Christian Ethics as Harvard, he remained a preacher there, gaining widespread support from students as well as the Episcopal church.
Brooks ventured to the Holy Land somewhere between 1964 and 1868, and the trip provided the inspiration for this now-legendary Christmas carol. While riding on horseback from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, he stopped at the Field of the Shepherds on Christmas Eve to attend a service at the Church of the Nativity. Three years later, with his trip "still singing in my soul," he delivered the five stanza poem to his church organist Lewis Redner, who supplied the melody. The carol was premiered on December 27, 1868, later appeared in the Episcopal hymnal in 1892, and is now enjoyed throughout the world.
This arrangement comes with an additional third violin part, and an optional bass part for use with string orchestra.
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