Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Advent 2009: “Christmas Carol,” Willy Reske

Advent 2009: “Christmas Carol,” Willy Reske

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 28, 2009

Here’s another piece composed by Willy Reske (1897-1991) of New York City. The music is dedicated to Claude Cyril Cornwall (1889-1983), originally from Salt Lake City and a member of the YMMIA General Board, who probably met Reske when Cornwall was based in Hoboken, New Jersey, from 1926-1933. During those years Cornwall was the recreation director aboard the S.S. Leviathan, one of the world’s great passenger liners … despite the American-registered ship’s legal requirement to comply with Prohibition.

Click here to hear “Christmas Carol” played by Keepa’s own “Phantom of the Chapel.”

As Joseph was a-walking, He heard an angel sing –
“This night shall be the birth night of Christ our heav’nly King.”
His birth bed shall be neither in house nor in hall,
Nor in the place of Pardise, but in the oxen’s stall.

“He neither shall be cloth-ed in purple nor in pall,
But in the fair white linen that usen babies all.”
Then be you glad, good people, at this time of the year;
And light you up your candles; His star, it shineth clear.



  1. That’s a nice little piece of music. It would undoubtedly sound charming sung as a female trio, as is noted under the third line.

    Thanks, Ardis and Phantom!

    Comment by Researcher — November 28, 2009 @ 8:45 am

  2. This is one of my favorites. I debated “wasting” it on a Saturday but thought that anyone who is enjoying this series would probably catch up next week.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 28, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  3. This is very enjoyable. Ardis, I’m glad that you included it, and Phantom, it is nice to have you aboard.

    Comment by Maurine — November 28, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  4. Willy Reske FTW!

    Comment by Hunter — November 29, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  5. Dear Ardis,

    Willy Reske was my Great Grandfather, it is wonderful to see that his music is still appreciated to this day. Our family had ties to Utah early on after immigrating to NY in 1926. Thank you all for celebrating his work! If I remember correctly, the Leviathon was the ship that took my family to the USA from East Prussia which is more thank likely where my Grandfather met Cyril Cornwall. I have a photograph of my family holding the life preserver on the ship in 1926.

    Comment by Christopher Shayne — December 17, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  6. Christopher, some of us have started a sort of informal Willy Reske fan club behind the scenes here at Keepa — we really like his music and the few personal bits we’re learning about him. It’s wonderful to hear that he has living family, and to have you comment here!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 17, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

  7. Dear Mr. Ardis,
    Happened to google “Willie Reske”, he was my great uncle, his wife Tante Martha was my Grandfather, Paul Gerhard Wiemers sister.
    We visited Uncle Willy and Tante Martha in upstate New York during our trip to the 1964 New York Worlds Fair.
    So interesting to see more of his work here.

    Comment by Valerie Luke Lane — February 21, 2010 @ 2:57 am

  8. Willy Reske was my Uncle…He was married to my dad.. Paul Wiemer.. sister Martha.. There are 4 songs in our Mormon Church song book written by him…I went to his funeral in NY in 1991 and it was nice to meet up with his children and grandchildren….had not seen them in many years. I have fond memories of visiting Uncle Reske and Tante Martha in NY as a child..It was great to find his name and find out more things about him…

    Comment by Hanna Wiemer Curzon — February 25, 2010 @ 11:19 pm

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