"Silent Night" is the quintessential Christmas song. It's virtually impossible for any artist to record a Christmas album and not have a rendition. In this 200th anniversary of the song's creation, we thought it fun to expand the variety of recordings of the song to show its durability and to underscore the need to not let musicality overshadow the message of the lyrics.
Sis. Vanetta Pinn, who curated our Carol Story YouTube Playlist, included versions by Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber and Boyz II Men for our re-posting consideration. We've linked these videos to give a glimpse of vocal variations, musical arranging and technical production growth through the years.
LEARN MORE: "Silent Night" 200th anniversary observations
We've also included a medley by KIT Ministries co-founder Vikki J. Myers as a sample of how Christmas music can be merged with non-seasonal worship selections to give a sense of how the Christmas message lasts beyond the holidays.
However, for the purposes of our #CarolStory live presentation, the renditions that best reflect the backstory nuances are by Andrea Bocelli and Mahalia Jackson .
In the context of #CarolStory, the 10-minute worship play, “Silent Night" is woven with five other standard carols — “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," "O Holy Night,” “Hark! The Herald,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and “The Hallelujah Chorus” to establish the atmosphere of fear, awe and respect that the shepherds experienced when the Heavenly Host appeared on “The Night” when Christ was born. (The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 8-15)
LEARN MORE: "Carol Story" The Script
Bocelli, singing in Italian, brings to mind the European feel of the original German carol written by Franz Gruber. We wonder how Gruber may respond to the variety of arrangements of the song, especially considering the urgent and somewhat controversial circumstances under which he wrote the piece for Christmas Eve 1818.
LEARN MORE: History of "Silent Night"
There's a nostalgic prejudice for Mahalia Jackson's version. It was among the first "church" Christmas songs Michael heard and was a family favorite. His mother, not a singer, would sing along whenever the record (as in vinyl) played , or when the Spirit moved her to burst into song while baking cookies thinking she was alone in the kitchen in the middle of the night.
As with other selections in this piece, the lyrics of "Silent Night" are woven throughout the play to move the story along and work effectively as scene exposition transitioning between scenes.
The KIT 'n' Kaboodle Blog
The essays here are culled from our travels, conversations, worship experiences and discoveries.
Many are reprints from our newsletter, The KIT 'n' Kaboodle, or Facebook notes over time.
They're written by our ensemble, Garlan Garner, Michael Edgar Myers or Vikki J. Myers -- solo, or collectively.