Dec. 8, 2009
For Immediate Release
Campbellsville University Graduate Student Composes Christmas Carol for Troops
By Ashley Zsedenyi, staff writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Thousands of American soldiers will be apart from their families this Christmas, but Campbellsville University graduate student Matt Hodge has written a Christmas carol for them in hopes of providing a way for the troops and their families to feel closer together during the holiday season.
The carol titled “What is Christmas?” came out of a brainstorming session between Hodge and Dr. Frieda Gebert, associate professor of music at CU.
Gebert said she remembered her parents telling her about being apart at Christmas during World War II while her father was fighting in the war, and they would listen to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” which they called “their song,” to think of each other while they were apart.
“When I heard President Obama say that 30,000 more troops would be heading for Afghanistan, my heart went out to their families.
“When he said that many of those would be leaving home before Christmas, I thought of my parents and the years they spent apart during WW II. I wanted to find a way for those back home to say, ‘Christmas will be here when you get back,’” Gebert said.
She then called Hodge and asked what he could do to help. “He came through in a big way!” she said.
Hodge’s carol was performed during CU’s annual “Christmas Tapestry” by the Chamber Choir.
Gebert said the instant and enthusiastic standing ovation by the audience convinced them that the carol conveyed the message they had hoped.
Hodge said after the concert he and Gebert were “flooded with people wanting to share their personal stories of how the song touched them.”
“Dr. Gebert and I are so happy that we could bring a song to the public that could touch people in their own personal experiences,” Hodge said.
Gebert said the carol will be recorded professionally this week at Campbellsville University Trustee Buzz Cason’s music studio in Nashville. The Chamber Choir also hopes to make trips to Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Knox, Ky., to perform the carol.
“We are also exploring ways to get the carol out to the troops through the Internet,” Hodge said.
CDs will be available to purchase for sending overseas to troops in time for Christmas.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 3,006 students who represent 97 Kentucky counties, 30 states and 37 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2010 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 23rd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South, tied for fifth in “most international students” and fourth in “up-and-coming” schools in baccalaureate colleges in the South. CU has been ranked 17 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges® and to G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his 11th year as president.