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Head of School Update, Thursday, December 20, 2019

Dear JH Classical Academy Parents,
On a cold Christmas Eve in 1818 Father Mohr hurried down the road from his home in the Austrian village of Oberndorf to find his friend Franz Gruber in the neighboring town of Arnsdorf. Father Mohr brought with him a poem he had written two years earlier. He desperately needed a carol for the Christmas Eve midnight mass. The church organ had been damaged by recent flooding of the Salzach River. He hoped his friend, Franz Gruber, a school teacher, and the church’s choirmaster and organist, could compose a simple tune for his poem -- something that could easily be sung by the choir acapella that night.
Father Mohr was the son of a poor single mother. His father had left his mother early in his childhood, forcing the two to make a way for themselves. But a  kind man recognized talent in Mohr and paid for his education at the seminary in Salzburg. Mohr was the assistant priest in the church where Gruber served as choirmaster.  In just a few hours, Franz Gruber composed the melody for “Silent Night."  On December 24, 1818 in the Church of St. Nicholas, the silence was broken with a beautiful new carol: “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.”
From this humble beginning came one of the world’s best-known and well-loved Christmas songs. For many years people assumed this melody must have been written by a more famous composer, possibly Beethoven, Haydn, or even Mozart, because it was so beautiful and popular. But when the original score was found, the truth was confirmed: in the upper right-hand corner of the arrangement Mohr had written the words, “Melody by Franz Gruber.”  God works through all His faithful servants. 
Life presents challenges. Floods happen. Instruments break. Children are parentless. Even in the midst of so much plenty, human suffering is real. But love came down at Christmas. God sent his son, Jesus, to live among us -- to heal brokenness, to care for the orphans and widows, and to bring comfort to all people. It is my prayer that all of us here might be used in ways like Father Mohr and Franz Gruber to bring care, comfort, love and joy to friends, family, and strangers during this Christmas season.  
May the hope that fills this song, fill you with a peace that you will share -- just as this beloved song spread from country to country, language to language, over the past 200 years: 1818 to 2018!
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Mrs. Polly J. Friess
Head of School

Mountain Range


Jackson Hole Classical Academy
P.O. Box 7466
Jackson, WY 83002
Enrollment Inquiries:
Polly Friess
(307) 690-8396
All Other Inquiries:
School Office
(307) 201-5040
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