The Dec 23, 1924 issue of the Chillicothe High School newspaper, The Gabbler, celebrated that the song Silent Night was 100 years old! Actually, Pastor Josef Mohr probably wrote the words in 1816 and school teacher and organist Franz Gruber put them to music around 1818. The article says they were both from Salsburg, [...]

 

The Dec 23, 1924 issue of the Chillicothe High School newspaper, The Gabbler, celebrated that the song Silent Night was 100 years old! Actually, Pastor Josef Mohr probably wrote the words in 1816 and school teacher and organist Franz Gruber put them to music around 1818. The article says they were both from Salsburg, Australia, but I think they meant Austria. (Close in spelling but not geographically!)

 

One story claims the local church organ was broken and it was Christmas Eve, so the song was written quickly for guitar. Another tells that Mohr decided to have the words he had written two years earlier set to music with little advance notice. Accounts seem to agree that this song was first performed on Dec 24, 1818 in Austria. When renowned organ repairman Karl Mauracher showed up, weeks later or even over the next several years (again depending on which version of the story you read), he heard the new song and shared a copy of it back in his home village. This village just happened to have some well-known travelling performers. They covered Europe and the United States and added this new song to their repertoire. Over time, some notes were changed and even some of the words. It wasn't until 1863 that the song was translated into English. It finally made it into a hymnal in 1871 and the rest is history! Perhaps there was some divine intervention here. Perhaps it was all blind luck. Either way, this lovely song is about 200 years old and a Christmas favorite of millions!

 

–Kirsten