|The Silent Night Chapel|
On Christmas Eve 1818, Father Joseph Mohr, a young priest at the St Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, paid a visit to Franz Xaver Gruber, an organist from the village of Arnsdorf, to show him a poem he had written entitled, Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht. Mohr believed his work might be the basis of a had written the lyrics to a celebratory song entitled and asked Gruber if he could compose music to accompany the words.
Gruber was happy to oblige and composed a score for both piano and guitar, with the men working together to perfect the carol in preparation for its debut that night at the church in Oberndorf. The church organ was awaiting repairs so the carol was to be performed to a guitar accompaniment, with Gruber on strumming duties on the night.
By candlelight, tenor Mohr and bass Gruber performed Silent Night for the first time at the evening mass. We shall certainly be singing it here on Gin Lane, though it might not sound quite so sweet with grandmother's gin-fuelled fingers on the keys!