Saturday, December 9, 2006


Christmas Tunes

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

Ad-man Robert L. May created ‘Rudolph’ in 1939, when he wrote a whimsical little story and circulated it at Christmas time in pamphlet form among the Montgomery Ward mail-order department. Ten years later, composer Johnny Marks composed a musical setting, and ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer burst onto the holiday scene in Gene Autry’s hugely successful recording. The whole story of ‘Rudolf’ appeared, out of nowhere, in 1939. The Santas at Montgomery Ward stores gave away 2.4 million copies of the booklet entitled ‘Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer.’ A person in the advertising department named Robert May wrote the story, and Denver Gillen illustrated the booklet. Robert May was rather sickly, shy and introverted as a child and he loosely based the Rudolph character on his childhood feelings of alienation from children his own age. The original name of the red-nosed reindeer was to be Rollo, but executives did not like that name, or the other suggested name of Reginald. The name Rudolf came from the author's young daughter!

[As a side note to this story: Robert May’s wife passed away from a long and terminal illness about the same time he created Rudolph. Since he had created Rudolph as a Montgomery Ward employee, the company held the copyright to all royalties received from the story. Deeply in debt from all the medical bills resulting from his wife’s illness, May persuaded Montgomery Ward’s corporate president, Sewell Avery, to turn the copyright over to him in January 1947. With the rights in hand, May’s financial security was assured.]

From the Choir Loft

Our choirs will be presenting the musical drama:

"A 1940’s Christmas Homecoming Sunday (12/10) at 7:00 inside the beautiful First United Church in Silver Creek, NY. (The big white church in the center of Silver Creek) We would like to encourage you to come out and bring a few visitors. This musical is a powerful Christ-centered message presented in the "big band" style of the 1940’s. We guarantee you will be impressed and encouraged…Or your money back! (By the way, we’re only asking for a "free-will" offering!)


History of Christmas Toys

In 1949, Ole Christiansen, a Danish toy maker, began to manufacture toy blocks with a new twist. Christiansen created a plastic brick that can be locked together in different configurations…The Lego, which comes from the Danish ‘leg godt,’ meaning "play well" was born. The world's children spend 5 billion hours a year playing with LEGO bricks.

The Lego Blocks fit together in 102,981,500 different ways! (For those of us from N.T., that’s almost 103 million!)



Today in history

(December 10)

1995 – Worst snowstorm in Buffalo history with 37.9" of snow falling in a 24 hour period

1963 – 6 year old Donny Osmond made his singing debut on the Andy Williams TV show

1915 – The ten millionth Model-T Ford was assembled in Detroit, Michigan by Ford Motor

1672 – NY Governor Lovelace announced mail service to begin between NYC & Boston

1520 – Martin Luther publicly burned papal edict

Church office: (716) 672-2048, Bud: (716) 934-7734, email:,


History of the Carols

December 10, 2006

"O Little Town of Bethlehem"

(1868) pg. 230

Words: Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893) Music: Lewis H. Redner (1830 – 1908)

Three years after his return from a trip to the Holy Land in 1865, Philadelphia preacher Phillips Brooks found himself still deeply moved by Bethlehem’s "simplicity and wondrous beauty." Brooks wrote about his horseback journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, where he assisted with the midnight service on Christmas Eve, 1865. "I remember standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with splendid hymns of praise to God. How again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I knew well, telling each other of the Wonderful Night of the Savior’s birth."

He penned some lines that he thought captured the serene atmosphere of the place where Jesus was born, and asked the organist of his church, Lewis Redner, if he could compose a melody.

Redner was a wealthy real estate broker as well as the church organist at Holy Trinity Church. Redner struggled with his task day after day, until, waking from a nap on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, he seemed to hear "an angel strain" and was finally inspired to jot down a tune that matched Brooks’ verses perfectly.

That was in 1868, but ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ did not gain its universal popularity until 1882, when it was published in the new hymnal of the Episcopal Church.

Meanwhile…1868…138 years ago…in the United States…

U. S. President: Andrew Johnson…Vice-President: None

U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Andrew Johnson

Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) was opened

Brigham Young married his 27th wife

William Hinds received a patent for the "Candlestick"

Frederick Olmsted was hired to design the City of Buffalo’s public parks


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