Music

William Wilberforce

History of Amazing Grace: Abolition of the British Slave Trade, part 2

By billpetro / February 23, 2024 /

HISTORY OF AMAZING GRACE, part 2: William Wilberforce As I mentioned in my first article on the History of Amazing Grace, this is the story of the lives of two men and that one song. In the first part, we discussed the life of the song’s author, John Newton. However, the 2007 film “Amazing Grace”…

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Amazing Grace

History of Amazing Grace: Abolition of the British Slave Trade, part 1

By billpetro / February 22, 2024 /

HISTORY OF AMAZING GRACE, part 1 On February 23, 1807, the British parliament passed a bill banning the nation’s slave trade. In these two articles, we’ll explore the lives of two men and one song that played a significant role in that effort. John Newton‘s devoted Christian mother dreamed that her only son would grow…

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The Beatles

History of The Beatles: Coming to America February 7, 1964

By billpetro / February 6, 2024 /

HISTORY OF THE BEATLES On February 7, 1964, The Beatles landed at JFK Airport in New York. The airport had recently been renamed by a mourning country in honor of President Kennedy, who had been assassinated just 77 days earlier. The airport was now full of 4,000 greeters. Not realizing why there was such a…

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Peter Pan

History of Peter Pan: the Story Behind the 71-Year-Old Disney Classic

By billpetro / February 5, 2024 /

HISTORY OF PETER PAN All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.   So begins my favorite Walt Disney animated movie, Peter Pan, which debuted 71 years ago on February 5, 1953. The original movie poster said: “It will live in your heart forever” …and indeed it has. Why was this…

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American Pie

History of The Day The Music Died

By billpetro / February 3, 2024 /

HISTORY OF THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED On February 3, 1959, a plane crash occurred in Iowa during a snowstorm shortly after 1:00 AM, killing three young rock and roll singers who would go down in history: Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. They were part of the 24-day “Winter Dance…

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Mozart

History of Mozart: Today’s his Birthday

By billpetro / January 27, 2024 /

HISTORY OF MOZART Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, but he was baptized under the name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart.   What’s In A Name As an adult, he referred to himself as “Wolfgang Amadè Mozart,” signing his marriage certificate that way. His baptismal name was Latinized, as was common in…

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TheNutcracker

History of The Nutcracker: the Ballet That’s a Christmas Tradition

By billpetro / December 18, 2023 /

HISTORY OF THE NUTCRACKER: THE BALLET THAT’S A CHRISTMAS TRADITION On December 18, 1892, The Nutcracker premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, a week before Christmas.   Nutcracker Popularity The Nutcracker has had such an enduring influence on the celebration of Christmas for more than a century that no one even…

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Carol of the Bells

History of Carol of the Bells: from a Ukrainian folk song

By billpetro / November 28, 2023 /

HISTORY OF CAROL OF THE BELLS: FROM A UKRAINIAN FOLK SONG The favorite Christmas song, Carol of the Bells, is based on a Ukrainian folk song that initially had nothing to do with Christmas and was, in fact, popular in pre-Christian Ukraine. How did this folk song become such a popular American Christmas carol, and…

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covert garden theatre 300x221

History of a Sacred Oratorio: Considered Scandalous?

By billpetro / November 27, 2023 /

HISTORY OF A SACRED ORATORIO The genteel reception accorded the original debut performance stood in marked contrast to the savage hostility that greeted the work less than a year later in the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, London. The English aristocracy and churchmen began an unrelenting campaign against the work and its creator. They…

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Christmas Carols

History of Christmas Music: More than just Carols

By billpetro / November 26, 2023 /

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS MUSIC Music early became a marked feature of the Christmas season. But the first chants, litanies, and hymns were in Latin and deemed too theological for popular use. Under Francis of Assisi‘s influence in the 13th century, we began to see the rise of the carol written in the vernacular. The word carol comes…

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bestofearthwind&fire

History of September 21: Earth, Wind & Fire

By billpetro / September 21, 2023 /

History of September 21: Earth, Wind & Fire When the band Earth, Wind & Fire released the feel-good song September in 1978, it broke into the Top 10 and has been one of their biggest commercial successes. However, it was originally released on November 18 of that year as a new song on the album “The…

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Blue Moon

History of Blue Moon

By billpetro / August 30, 2023 /

HISTORY OF BLUE MOON “Do you see that full moon in the sky tonight? That happens once in a blue moon.” Scientifically, this happens 7 times in 19 years or about once in 3 years.   I first wrote about this on July 31, 2015. We had blue moons in January and March 2018 and…

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