Abbie Betinis premieres 'Carol of the Stranger'

by John Birge, Minnesota Public Radio
December 22, 2013

Peace and grace be to this house
     Where all are welcomed in;
Receive the guest, receive this heart:
     Tell the Stranger, tell.

St. Paul, Minn. — With those words, we welcome Abbie Betinis back to Classical MPR for the world premiere of her annual Christmas Carol. For the first time, this year's carol was a collaboration. Michael Dennis Browne wrote the words above for "Carol of the Stranger," with Abbie's harmonies opening like the heart at Christmas.

Betinis continues a family tradition begun ninety-one years ago by her great-grandfather Bates Burt, then 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.

Abbie picked up the tradition by writing a new carol every year, and for the past thirteen years she has premiered them on Classical Minnesota Public Radio. This year, Abbie and her Carolers also performed two carols by Alfred Burt: "Caroling, Caroling" and "Christ in the Stranger's Guise."

And thanks to the MPR Carolers for bringing the music to life!

Carrie Henneman Shaw, soprano
Linda Kachelmeier, alto
Abbie Betinis, alto (on "Carol of the Stranger" only)
Justin Karch, tenor
Eric Bartlett, bass

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