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WorksChoral MusicBurt Family Carol SeriesShem Speaks

Shem Speaks

Voicing: SATB a cappella
Text: Wihla Hutson
Duration: 2:30 min.
Premiere: The MPR Carolers, Minnesota Public Radio - Dec. 18, 2006
Published by: in manuscript


Audio: mp3, 2:38, 2.5 MB
Performed by Melissa Morey, Abbie Betinis, Justin Karch, and Michael Meyer

Interview: mp3, 5:50, 5.5 MB

Web feature: Classical Minnesota Public Radio

Video: Minnesota Public Radio


In 1922, Rev. Bates G. Burt, a self-taught musician, began composing Christmas carols and sending them as seasonal greeting cards to his friends, family, and parishioners. In 1942, he passed the job of composing the music to his son, Alfred Burt, a jazz trumpeter who had just received his music degree from the University of Michigan. The father-son team produced five carols together before Bates' death in 1948. Alfred Burt went on to write a total of fifteen Christmas carols, including the popular Caroling, Caroling, and Some Children See Him, made famous originally by the Voices of Jimmy Joyce and now recorded by artists all over the world. Since 2001, Abbie Burt Betinis has been continuing this family tradition begun so long ago by Bates, her great-grandfather.

More information on the Burt Family Carols here.

Shem Speaks Poem by Wihla Hutson
Now here am I, an orphan lamb;
          my shepherd calls me "Shem."
I rode across his shoulders
          when we sped to Bethlehem.
                  It was the middle of the night,
                        yet all was bright as day, ---
                  The biggest star I ever saw
                        was showing us the way.


This text is under copyright.

Performed by:

MPR Carolers

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