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WorksVocal MusicHigh VoiceThree Carols
See also: Burt Family Christmas Carol Series

Three Carols (high voice, keyboard)    * NEW FOR 2013!

1. Carol of the Snow
2. Prayer for Peace
3. Behind the Clouds

Voicing: High voice (soprano or tenor) and Piano/Organ
Text: various
See the score: PREVIEW THE SCORE (pdf)
Published by: Abbie Betinis Music Co.
Order now: Online order form


Carol of the Snow (solo voice): 3.5 MB, 3:45
Performed by Carrie Henneman Shaw, soprano; Ruth Palmer, piano

Prayer for Peace (solo voice -- low version): 4 MB, 4:16
Performed by Jake Endres, baritone; Ruth Palmer, piano

Behind the Clouds (SATB version): 3.5 MB, 3:42
Performed by Carrie Henneman Shaw, soprano


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 and young composer. The father-son team produced five carols together before Bates’s death, and 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. Each carol premieres on Minnesota Public Radio before being sent as a greeting card to family and friends.

Read more about the Burt Family Carols here.


Carol of the Snow    (read more about this carol)
Poem adapted by the composer after H. W. Longfellow’s “Snow-flakes”
Out of the bosom of the air,
    Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
    Over the harvest fields forsaken,
        Silent, and soft, and slow,
        Descends the snow.

This is the poem of the air,
    Slowly in silent syllables recorded;
This is the secret of despair,
    Long in its cloudy bosom hoarded,
        Troubled, the sky reveals
        The grief it feels.

Even as our burdens are released,
    Lovingly laced in some divine expression,
Even as the troubled heart cries peace,
    And in the white countenance makes confession,
        A love so pure so true
        Begins anew.

Used by permission. This poem may be reprinted from this website ONLY for use in concert programs and for promotional use as related to this musical work. For the original poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), click here.

Prayer for Peace    (read more about this carol)
Poem by Abbie Betinis, based on texts by Bates Burt, 1940-46
Peace, the breath of peace is near,
it calms and cheers,
As we, with eyes of faith, look backward
through the years...
Peace, it was the Angels' song
when He was born,
Peace and Good-will to all, they sang,
on Christmas morn.

Refrain: Gloria! Et in terra pax!

Lovely, oh so lovely,
the reflected star,
The star of Hope in every eye
that sought so far...
Far, they sought to love him:
Bethl'hem, Calvary...
That from their want and fear all people
shall be free.


Softly, o'er the snow so softly
comes the sign,
A better peace descends to us
at Christmastime.
Softly, o'er the snow so softly,
then is gone -
So we wait in hope, and fear, to see
our century dawn.


Angels, o'er the broken, spread your silver wings,
And help us to keep sacred all the love He brings.

© 2004 by Abbie Burt Betinis. For permission to reprint this text, please email the author.

Behind the Clouds     (read more about this carol)
Poem by Abbie Burt Betinis, after Bates G. Burt
Behind the clouds that darken human life,
Forever shines the Light of God;
      And whensoever those clouds may go,
      Dispelling the shadows in which we so
            blindly grope,
      Then is it, indeed,

With ears attuned to heaven's prophecies,
Our hearts await a Prince of Peace,
      And whensoever that Prince appear,
      And we in darkness, and we in fear
            find release,
      Then is it, indeed,

Awake! Awake! Lift up your hearts downcast,
For sorrow shall transform at last,
      And whensoever that Rose unfurl'd,
      Invites Hosannas for all the world
            to employ,
      Then is it, indeed,

O come, O come, come closer still tonight,
The pains of life remain, but Light...!
      And whensoever that Light breaks through,
      And we, in radiance, reflect a new
            world above,
      Then is it, indeed,

© 2008 by Abbie Burt Betinis, after Bates G. Burt. For permission to reprint this text, please email the author.