A family tradition of carol writing

Abbie Betinis
Composer Abbie Betinis
Photo courtesy of Abbie Betinis

Nat King Cole was just one of many artists to record this carol by Alfred Burt.

Burt wrote 15 carols in all, and you've probably heard some of the others, such as "Some Children See Him" and "This is Christmas." At this time of year, when Christmas music is ubiquitous, there's something refreshing about hearing them.

While Alfred Burt is best know, the carol tradition in the Burt family began with his father Bates Burt in 1922. He was a Pastor who sent his carols out as the annual Christmas Card.

Alfred Burt died in 1954. But his fresh take on the carol continues now to this day in the person of Abbie Betinis.

Abbie Betinis is the grand-niece of Alfred Burt. Back in 2001, the Twin Cities-based composer began a tradition of writing a new carol as her family's Christmas greeting. Since then they've been premiered on our sister station Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

Betinis is currently composer-in-residence for The Schubert Club in Saint Paul. Her work has been premiered by groups such as the Dale Warland Singers, the Rose Ensemble and the Singers.

Betinis joined Tom Crann on "All Things Considered" to discuss her latest carols and her family's history of carol writing.

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