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December 20, 2011


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Ken-wonderful to hear from you! The song Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem is one of my all time favorites.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.


Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

read this, jodie boyce broTher wrote o BEAUTIFUL STAR OF BETHLEHEM

David-thank you so much for the great comment! What an honor to hear from you-I can see why your family takes great pride-it is a wonderful song. Funny that you mention it wasn't supposed to be a Christmas song-when I was growing up a pastor would often request the choir sing Beautiful Star of Bethlehem in the summer or whenever! All the kids would giggle and smile because we thought it was only supposed to be sung at Christmas-shows how much knew : )

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

Tipper Pressley

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Greetings everyone, I am David Boyce, son of Franklin and grandson of Robert Fisher Boyce. First of all I would like to thank the author of this site. I think the article is very well written and goes along with what I have heard most of my life. Second, ladies you did a beautiful job singing it. The only bit of new info I can ad is Aunt Nanny Lou would play the song on the piano and they would sing it in their home for a number of years before it was published. My grandfather and my Dad were both song leaders in their church and uncle BC Boyce had a gospel quartet for years. I would give anything to be able to hear them sing that song together! Pace got credit for the music as part of the deal to get it published. My Dad said PaPa didn't seem to mind he was just happy to have the song published so others could hear it. Also daddy said the song was not intended to be a Christmas song. I guess it just evolved into one over the years. Needless to say the entire family takes great pride in his accomplishment.

Just now catching up on this post...Wonderful song from the girls and family...I loved the history as well...
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem is one of my very favorites...
Thanks Tipper for a great post...

Tipper, I love to hear this song and the harmony is so sweet. I first heard it in a play in Atlanta some years ago. I think the play was Appalachian Christmas. I've never seen that same play again but that music stayed in my mind and I find myself humming it.
Thanks for the "rest of the story" about the writer of the song. Very interesting.
And the girls do a great job of singing.

Beautiful! Merry Christmas to you all.

What a beautiful Christmas gift of song! Thank you so much! i love that old hymn and the girls sound so lovely. Merry Christmas and thank you again for your wonderful site.

That was certainly not more history than I wanted to know! I love knowing it, but would probably never have gotten around to looking it up. Thank you. And maybe I'm a little biased, but that's as pretty as I have ever heard it done!

Wonderful job girls, a song I love to hear year around, love the history lesson behind it, Merry Christmas to you and your family Tipper, I'm so glad to have found your blog, seems like being neighbors..

Tipper, you have brought tears (but happy tears) to my eyes. This was my mother's favorite carol and the two of us used to sing it every Christmas. I haven't heard it in years (Mom died too young in 1988) and your two girls do it beautifully. I'll be coming back to it again and again to listen to the girls and remember my Mama.

Awesome job Girls, that song is my wife's favorite. Also thanks for the history lesson Tipper. Hope you and your Family have a Very Merry Christmas.

I really enjoyed the girls singing...as always. It seems like I noticed "guitar man" in that video. Good job all!

tipper your talent for words always brings such warmth to my soul.. i love the story of the song... and hearing the girls singing.. was just beautiful.. i love hearing their voices.. what a wonderful gift youve given us.. may your holidays be blessed with laughter and love always.
big ladybug hugs

Beautiful!!! We love this song; it's one of those you wish would go on and on.

I also enjoyed the history of the song.

This is my all time favorite Christmas song. Thanks for the history behind it. A truly inspirational story.

WoW! Thank you all for that song.
What a wonderful Christmas Gift
and history shared with your readers. Beautiful Star of Bethlehem is my favorite of all
Christmas Songs. Chatter started
the song and Chitter got her turn,
while both have such beautiful
voices. The Blind Pig Gang did a
nice compliment while the girls
sang, and it's good to see our
guy from Yale coming Home for the
Christmas Holidays.
Merry Christmas! ...Ken

Merry Christmas Tipper and family. I have been singing Beautiful Star of Bethlehem for three weeks now. Thanks for the song history. The girls are grown. They both have beautiful voices. Barbara and I just watched the video and enjoyed every minute of it. She is now digging out Pap and Paul's Christmas album. Tell Pap I saw the top of his head in the video. We still want to come for a visit before we get too feeble to travel. :) May Jesus Christ bless you all, Pappy

Beautiful and I loved the history of the song and the man. Thank you.

I enjoyed the history of this beautiful song. It is good knowing the inspiration for the song having been written. I understand how he felt about being alone to write it. Every Christmas Eve I go outside by myself to gaze up at the stars and reflect about that wonderful night that Christ was born. I offer up a prayer of thanks to the Father for giving us the gift of His son. This year I will be hearing the girls beautiful voices singing this song in my mind while I am out looking at the sky alone. Thank you for sharing with us Tipper!

Thanks for the blessing.

Your girls did such a wonderful job singing this song. It's always been one of my favorites and not just at Christmas. Thanks for a beautiful start to my morning!

Shape notes are the old do-re-me-fa-so-la-ti-do musical scale. Singers used to use it to find their pitch without a musical instrument. My dad and two of brother used to sing this way. The church I grew up in had a piano but nobody knew how to play so they used the shape notes. Sounded pretty good too for a bunch Hightower hicks.

The song was sweetly done. Thank you, and the story was intriguing.

This was such a wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing it.

I LOVE this song!

Love this song. Thanks for the history!!!!

Mike-go here for an easy to understand explanation:


Blind Pig The Acorn

Celebrating and Preserving the

Culture of Appalachia


I haven't seen a shaped-note hymnal in a long time. Since I read music since I was 6, I never paid much attention to the shapes and still don't know what they mean. Do they denote the duration of the note? Can anyone help?

I love the song!

i have a post in my drafts for friday saying this is my favorite song, i love it sung by patti loveless and your girls are sounding as good as she does. i have listened to it so many times this week it runs through my head all day and my hubby is singing it too. great harmony going on with your beautiful daughters.

Well, the girls did a beautiful job on that song!
Thanks for the song, the story and the research. Just doesn't seem fair does it.
Not the first nor the last time someone takes credit for someone else's work.

Tipper: Wonderful research on a meaningful story! I am just delighted that it all seemed to come out of TENNESSEE - a most appropriatae place for a musical story! I am going to share your post with my brother who is 'into' this kind of history!

Eva Nell

I lived in Middle Tennessee in the late 1990s and a lady in my church (Green Hill Upper Cumberland Presbyterian Church between Unionville and Deason) told me she was related to the man who wrote "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem." I don't remember the exact connection, but what a joy to see the details in the accounts you posted. Thank you...it's by far my favorite Christmas hymn.

Beautiful voices to start my day off right. Thanks Chitter, Chatter and Tipper!!!!!!

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