• Once Upon a December

    “Once Upon a December” is a song from the 1997 animated film Anastasia, a story about the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, and the rumors surrounding her purported escape from Communist revolutionaries in 1918 who executed the rest of the Romanov royal family. Inspired by the 1952 play and […]

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  • A Spaceman Came Travelling

    Written by Chris de Burgh in 1975, “A Spaceman Came Travelling” topped the Irish charts a year after it was released. But it wasn’t until 1986 with De Burgh’s success of “The Lady in Red” that the UK took notice and it reached the top charts there, too. The idea for the song came to de […]

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  • Huron Carol (‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime)

    Generally considered the first Canadian Christmas carol, “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” was written in 1640 by a Jesuit priest, Jean de Brébeuf. He set the song to a French folk tune, “Une Jeune Pucelle.” Brébeuf was ministering to the Huron natives in Ontario, and created a song in their language that used symbols […]

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  • Mary’s Boy Child

    “Mary’s Boy Child” was written by singer, composer, conductor, and actor Jester Hairston in 1956. Hairston, a grandson of American slaves, dedicated himself to preserving African-American Spirituals and their rich history. After Hairston wrote the song, Harry Belafonte made the first recording which topped the charts for nine weeks in 1957. Others have released their […]

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  • Dives and Lazarus / A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief

    The tune to “Dives and Lazarus” is used in many folk songs throughout western Europe, including “Gilderoy” and “Crooked Jack” in Scotland, “The Star of the Country Down” in Ireland, and “The Unquiet Grave” in England. Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged the tune in his composition Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus for the 1939 World’s […]

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