If you’re in Michigan this Christmas, here’s a fun place to visit with your kids.
But first let’s go a short distance north of Salzburg, Austria, the site of what was once the parish church of St. Nikolaus. Back in 1818, Silent Night was first performed in this small church.
Joseph Mohr wrote the poem, and then on Christmas Eve 1818, Franz Gruber wrote the melody. The story goes, that something had happened to the organ and someone needed to quickly come up with a song that could be played on the guitar. The author and composer had the privilege of being the first to perform their creation. That was the beginning of probably the most well-known carol.
The church is gone but in 1937, a memorial chapel was built on the site.
In 1976, Wally Bronner, founder of BRONNER’S CHRISTmas WONDERLAND in Frankenmuth, Michigan, had the opportunity to visit the Silent Night Memorial Chapel in Austria. Fascinated with the story, he was able to obtain permission from the Oberndorf, Salzburg, Austria, city government to replicate it on the grounds of Bronner’s.
If you can go to Austria – that’s fantastic. But for most of us, Michigan is a little closer.
So if you’re anywhere near Bronner’s, tell your kids the story of Silent Night and then stop for a visit at the Memorial for a special Christmas adventure.