Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Advent 2009: “Bethlehem’s Song of Triumph,” B.H. Winslow, Alfred M. Durham

Advent 2009: “Bethlehem’s Song of Triumph,” B.H. Winslow, Alfred M. Durham

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 13, 2009

B.H. Winslow (non-LDS) wrote the texts for dozens of hymns, carols and anthems, many of them published in Baptist hymnals. Alfred Morton Durham (1872-1957), a music teacher in the Utah schools and a long-time missionary guide on Temple Square, was the composer of two hymns still sung on occasion, “Sweet is the Peace the Gospel Brings” and “They, the Builders of the Nation.”

This carol was published in the December 1918 issue of the Juvenile Instructor.


Bright, with the golden radiance,
Cometh the dawn of peace.
Told by the ancient prophets,
Bringing mankind release;
Long was the patient waiting,
Dark was the night of time;
No o’er a world expectant,
Hark to the chant sublime!


Glory to God! He cometh!
Rapt’rous voices sing;
Glory to God! He cometh,
Peace on the earth to bring.
Glory to God in the highest!
Louder the transport rings;
Bethlehem’s humble manger,
Holdeth the King of Kings!

Soft was the silvery starlight,
Brooding o’er Bethl’em’s plain.
Shepherds with earnest longing,
Wait for the day star’s reign.
Now is the time appointed,
Now is the night to shine;
Hark! o’er the world triumphant,
Bethlehem’s song divine;

Tell all the wond’rous story,
Sing out the heav’nly song:
Peace among men forever.
Hark how it rolls along!
Tell out the glorious tidings,
Sing of the Savior’s birth,
Till Bethl’em’s song of triumph,
Echoes o’er all the earth.



  1. Alfred Morton Durham was my grandfather, a wonderful man who I remember as quite staid, but warm and friendly, studious and humble. He visited our home in Salt Lake City every month or so. My little brother, three sisters and I had a photo taken with him at our home while standing with him in front of his beautiful old 1937 Chevrolet coupe. I often visited Grandpa Durham just inside the south gate of the Salt Lake Temple Grounds as he greeted people during his voluntary work in the information booth on the Temple grounds. He worked there well into his eighties! Grandpa was a marvelous musician, composer and administrator, having served in Salt Lake City in charge of the Salt Lake City Schools Music Department and in the Utah State Legislature for many years as well! I have always been impressed by the fact that Grandpa compiled an entire book of Pioneer Songs after visiting small towns throughout Utah, listening to and then transcribing the tunes and lyrics to dozens of songs which the old people remembered. Grandpa Durham served two Latter Day Saint Missions in the Tongan Islands during the late 1800’s. Alfred Morton Durham, whose middle name I share as my first name, will be long remembered and loved by all who knew him and by all of his family.

    Morton King Durham, August 27, 2010

    Comment by Morton King Durham — August 27, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing these memories, Morton — it’s a great tribute to your grandfather.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 27, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

  3. I started ushering for the Utah Symphony in 1954 when I was in high school. Alfred Durham would come to the symphony from time to time. I will always remember what a beautiful man he was, tall and thin and such beautiful white hair. His son Rishards Durham was my favorite Seminary Teacher and his great grandson Andy Durham (Morton’s son)is my son-in-law. The beginning of the article mentions two of him hymns, he has four in the hymn book–I think his most popular is Carry On.

    Comment by Sylvia Jutila — August 27, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

  4. Alfred M. Durham was my grandfather also. I have the same memories as my cousin Morton. Grandpa Durham was one of the finest musicians and a wonderful grandfather to me. I loved going to Temple Square to visit him. I loved to sit by him on the piano and watch his beautiful fingers go over the keys. One of my favorite memories was once when he took my father and I to the Tabernacle to see an organ recital by Alexander Schreiner. Afterwards I got to sit by Brother Shreiner as he played the organ. What a thrill. I am very thankful for the wonderful musical heritage I have. Thank you for sharing this piece of music!

    Comment by Margaret Durham Nelson — October 10, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  5. Alfred M. Durham also wrote the music for “Carry On”, also known as “Firm as the Mountains Around us”.

    Comment by John Pack Lambert — April 29, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

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