Popular Posts

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The tale of 'Carol of the Bells'


During this year when Ukraine has been at the forefront of the world's thoughts, it is appropriate to remember Peter J. Wilhousky, composer, educator, and choral conductor, who left the world a legacy that will last for generations – especially at Christmas.    
The son of Ukrainian immigrants, he grew up in New York City where he was part of the famed Rusyn Cathedral Boys Choir selected to perform at the White House one Christmas.  While there, he was impressed by beautiful silver bells used to decorate the White House that year.   He jotted down notes of their image, hoping he could be use them some day in a either a poem or a song. 

Two years later, while still singing with the group, Wilhousky, now age 19, sang in an all-Ukrainian songfest, performing a New Year’s song called “Schchedryk.” Just beginning music studies at the school that was to become known as The Julliard School of Music, Wilhousky started thinking about how to use the lilting music from the song to do a piece for Christmas.  He dusted off his notes from the earlier White House visit and started writing.   
The result was “Carol of the Bells,” still one of our all-time favorites and one of the most recorded Christmas songs of all time.  And it was first written down by a teenager.  Creativity, as I’ve said before, is not limited by age.

Peter Wilhousky at age 33 

Here is a link to the beautiful "Carol of the Bells."  Happy holidays.

No comments:

Post a Comment