Video: Abbie Betinis with Two New Christmas Carols

by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
December 19, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — "This song more or less is
The way one expresses
The spirit that blesses
Our Jesus today."

The Reverend Bates Burt wrote those words for "Let Christmas Be Merry," a carol he composed for Christmas 1933. For the 2011 holiday, Burt's great-granddaughter, Abbie Burt Betinis, is still writing songs that express "the spirit that blesses" at Christmas.

Betinis carries on a family tradition begun in 1922 by her great-grandfather Bates Burt, and continued by Betinis's great-uncle, Alfred Burt. Some of Alfred Burt's carols, such as "Caroling, Caroling" and "The Star Carol" have become a part of the standard Christmas repertoire.

The group sings last year's carol — "Carol of the Snow" — based on a poem by Longfellow called "Snow-Flakes," this year's carol — "Come in, Come in, Come in Ye" — a fun and complex canon, as well as What are the Signs by Alfred Burt.

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