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Celebating 'Silent Night' in Austria: The 200th Anniversary of the Famous Christmas Carol

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Joseph Mohr, the parish priest at St. Nikola Church, the small chapel in the village of Oberndorf near Salzburg, was worried as Christmas Mass approached in 1818: the organ was in need of repair, and he wanted something special for his congregants. He had written a poem about the nativity, and he knew a nearby teacher, Franz Xaver Gruber, who played the guitar; he asked Gruber to create a melody to accompany his words.

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