Christmas music is a wonderful thing, made terrible by repeated play over a short period of time, compounded by the more popular tunes being played ad nauseam while perfectly wonderful music is left by the wayside. I suppose I’ll be waiting for pop radio to play “The Rebel Jesus” by Jackson Browne for years to come.
A Christmas tune popped into my head—“Some Children See Him.” I’ve heard the James Taylor version. It was written by Alfred S. Burt, who wrote a Christmas carol each year—a tradition started by his father, Bates G. Burt. The elder Burt was an Episcopal priest who wrote a carol every year to include with his Christmas cards. Son Alfred studied jazz at the University of Michigan, and he continued the tradition, collaborating with Wilha Hutson after the elder Burt passed away.
Albert Burt’s carols gained popularity and an album called “The Christmas Mood” was released in 1954, shortly after his untimely passing at age 33 (lung cancer). I’m not familiar with all the Burt carols, but I love choral music and who can argue with four-part harmonies?
Why I love the Internet – Part #93
A little clicking around and I discovered that Alfred Burt’s older brother was John H. Burt, an Episcopal priest like their father, Bates G. Burt. John Burt was rector of All Saints Pasadena (1957-1967), and cemented All Saints tradition of being at the forefront of civil rights issues. From his obituary in the Los Angeles Times:
“A friend of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Bishop Burt helped organize massive civil rights rallies in Los Angeles, including a 1963 event in South Los Angeles that attracted 30,000 people. He also was a vocal supporter of César Chávez and the farm workers’ movement.”
The carol tradition continues with Diane Bates Burt (daughter of Alfred Burt), and Abbie Burt Betinis, granddaughter of John Burt. Wow –listen to this. What a remarkable family!