When was the last time you heard a Christmas carol played on a pipe organ that’s more than 100 years old?  

We visited historic East End United Methodist Church in East Nashville to hear organ soloist Maeve Brophy play some traditional Christmas music you are sure to recognize:

  • Angels from the Realms of Glory
  • Joy to the World
  • What Child is this?  

Historians differ on some of the details about these traditional Christmas carols. But here’s a little background:

Angels, from the Realms of Glory

Scottish journalist and poet James Montgomery wrote the Christmas poem on Christmas Eve, 1816 as he pondered the story of the heralding angels.  It was later set to music composed by Henry Thomas Smart.  The song debuted publicly on Christmas Day 1821, in a Moravian Church in England.

Joy to the World

English Poet Isaac Watts wrote the poem as an adaptation of Psalm 98.  The text first appeared in 1719 in The Psalms of David. George Frideric Handel composed the original music in 1741. Lowell Mason arranged the version usually heard today in1848

What Child is This?

Insurance company manager William Chatterton Dix wrote the lyrics in 1865. It was first published in 1871.  The popular Christmas carol was later set to the tune of “Greensleeves,” a traditional English folk song composed anonymously in 1580.

Special thanks to Rev. Judi Hoffman for giving us access to the beautiful East End United Methodist Church, which is more than 125 years old.

We hope you enjoy these music videos from News 2 photographer Garrett Arnold.  

News 2 brings you special reports every weekend morning. Click here for more from our “Weekend Extra” section.