Family tradition in good handsby John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — You're fortunate if you're on Twin Cities' composer Abbie Betinis's Christmas card list. You don't just get a card, you also receive a song. Since 2001 she's been writing carols and sending them out as her annual holiday greeting.
Betinis is carrying on a family tradition begun in 1922 by her great-grandfather, Rev. Bates Burt, and continued by his son and Betinis's great-uncle, Alfred Burt.
Some of Alfred Burt's carols, such as "The Star Carol" and "Some Children See Him," have become a part of the standard Christmas repertoire.
Betinis' reputation for Christmas carols has been growing in recent years. It's not just local groups like the Rose Ensemble that are interested in her holiday music. Choirs across the country from Arizona to Maine are also singing her carols.
For the past seven years, Abbie Betinis has brought some friends to Minnesota Public Radio's Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser studio to premiere her latest carol, and also sing past carols by Bates Burt and Alfred Burt.
This year Betinis was joined by singers Carrie Shaw, Jennifer Rissman, Laura Krider, Jeff Stern, Bryan Fisher, Chad Shultis and Michael Meyer for the introduction of her 2007 carol, "Run, Toboggan, Run."
Betinis and lyricist Holly Windle spoke with host John Birge about the new carol and the Burt family tradition.