Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Advent 2009: “Christmas Carol,” Mildred Tanner Pettit

Advent 2009: “Christmas Carol,” Mildred Tanner Pettit

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 01, 2009

Mildred Tanner Pettit (1895-1977) is best known as the composer of “I Am a Child of God” and other Primary songs (“Reverently, Quietly” and “Father, I Will Reverent Be”). She is also the composer of “The Light Divine” (no. 305 in the Hymnbook).

This Christmas carol appeared in the Children’s Friend of October, 1930.

Update: In a few days we’ll have this — and all other Advent entries — modified to include sound files. Come back then and enjoy!



  1. I forgot to look at the date before snatching the sheet music off the printer, but as I was playing it, I was thinking: “This really sounds more like a late ’20s college football song.” Sure ’nuff — date was 1930. It is a good example, I suspect, of how a religious song imitating popular sheet music of the time might turn out.

    I played with the melody a bit, but the chromatic steps make it feel a little dated even without the insistent chord accompaniment, though it’s pretty in the same way that “The Wint’ry Day” is pretty, and so might be lovely with a new accompaniment. As it stands, it would make a very nice nostalgic set piece in a ward Christmas party program (say, Christmas songs through the years). If used that way, a three-part harmony arrangement would be extremely pretty.

    Comment by Coffinberry — November 1, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

  2. (PS. the ear in my brain is telling me that this number could be sung as a companion song with BYU’s Rise and Shout.)

    Comment by Coffinberry — November 1, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  3. Oh, great, a football fight song for Christmas! :) I’m glad I already told you I couldn’t vouch for its merits!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 1, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  4. Music isn’t my strong point, but I do remember, with fondness, a piece titled “Star Bright” by (I think) Lorin Wheelwright. I remember it in a 1960s FHE manuel and also in a Church magazine. It was uniquely Mormon as its focus was on the first Christmas in the Americas (Book of Mormon).

    Comment by Marjorie Conder — November 1, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  5. Marjorie,
    “Star Bright” is a favorite in our area. Shortly after it came out, a friend of mine added a third part to the duet. It is still sung that way by our choirs during December.

    Comment by Maurine — November 1, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

  6. I always liked Star Bright.

    Comment by Coffinberry — November 1, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

  7. Very cool! Thanks for posting

    Comment by Mormon Soprano — November 3, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  8. Ardis, fun idea, I like this series.

    Where can Star Bright be located now aye?

    Comment by BHodges — November 3, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  9. I have a black-market copy of Star Bright. Any bidders? :)

    Having just had a chance to play through the first three songs, I will have to agree with Coffinberry’s assessment. It’s a rather dated piece. I purchased a collection of Christmas music for the organ several years ago and it has a number of songs similar to this one.

    Comment by Researcher — November 3, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  10. I guess we need to think of these as the aural equivalent of the magazine covers showing ragged little newsboys, or the jokes about Prohibition, or the Girl Queries asking about the propriety of exchanging photos. It’s an echo of our past, rather than something we want to imitate in the present.

    Shucks. I’d love to discover a forgotten masterpiece … but that’s not likely, is it? :(

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 3, 2009 @ 5:38 pm

  11. #8: BHodges, I’ve just found “Star Bright” (words and music by Lorin F. Wheelwright, with Spanish translation by Eduardo Balderas) in the October 1959 Instructor, pp. 322-323. I thought I was going to get lucky and be able to scan and post it, because the Instructor failed to follow procedures to copyright its content during that period … but there is a specific copyright notice on “Star Bright” (” (c) 1959 by Pioneer Music Press, used by permission”) so I can’t post it.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 4, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  12. Thanks to that wonderful tool, google, it looks like you can have your own legal copy of Star Bright (perhaps I should buy one!) for less than a dollar. (I’m not in any way connected with the publisher, the composer, the composer’s heirs, etc., etc. :) )

    Comment by Researcher — November 4, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  13. After listening to the audio version, I thought it had a little syncopated “rag-timey” feel. Not what I would expect for a Christmas carol, but fun to listen to. I like this series.

    Comment by Clark — November 24, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  14. I was able to get a copy of it from The Instructor through the Church’s website.

    You can view a copy of it here:

    Comment by Karen — December 16, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  15. That last comment of mine didn’t make much sense! I should’ve said…

    I was able to get a copy of “Star Bright” from The Instructor through the Church’s website.

    You can view a copy of it here:

    Comment by Karen — December 16, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

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