A beautiful song written by Matt Hodge, graduate student at Campbellsville University, Campbellsville, KY. Campbellsville University is in the shadows of Fort Campbell, which is a major deployment base for those headed to Afghanistan. Fort Campell is the home of the 101st Airborne Division, as well as combat hospital and dental units.
This song is new, and honors those who are overseas, defending our freedom and protecting us from harm.
Read about how this song came into being on page 2, from Matt Hodge’s website
Thousands of American soldiers will be apart from their families this Christmas, but Campbellsville University hopes they can help troops and their families feel closer together during the holiday season.
A graduate student at the university, Matt Hodge, has written a special carol dedicated to our soldiers entitled “What is Christmas?” The idea came from CU faculty member, Dr. Frieda Gebert.
“My parents have been married 66 years – so far! Their wedding took place in a chapel near San Francisco in 1943 right before Dad shipped out to the South Pacific where he served in World War II. Mom didn’t see him again for over three years. But every Christmas they were apart, Dad would write home and tell her that he was singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” to her in his heart. They both still cry when they hear that song.”
“When I heard President Obama say that 30,000 more troops would be heading for Afghanistan, my heart went out to their families. It’s particularly hard for people who live here in Kentucky, where Ft. Campbell and Ft. Knox are so much a part of our lives. Everyone here knows someone who is serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. I thought of my parents’ story and wondered if we could send a special song out to the troops of our generation – something to tell them that Christmas will be right here waiting for them when they get back. I immediately called Matt Hodge and asked if he could write a carol for the troops. He came through in a big way!” Gebert said. “Matt is a graduate student at Campbellsville, but he’s also a professional composer who has recorded a lot in Nashville.”
Hodge’s carol was performed for the first time last week during CU’s annual “Christmas Tapestry” concert by the CU Chamber Choir under Dr. Gebert’s direction. It received an instant and enthusiastic standing ovation by the audience. Hodge said after the concert he and Gebert were “flooded with people wanting to share their personal stories of how the song touched them. People also wanted to know how they could get a copy of the song to send to their loved one overseas.”
In order to make that possible, Campbellsville University sent the entire Chamber Choir to Nashville to have the piece professionally recorded by Buzz Cason, a well-known song-writer and producer in the recording industry. “Dr. Gebert and I are so happy that we could bring a song to the public that touches people and tells our soldiers how much we appreciate them.” Hodge said. “Now we are just looking for ways to get it to the troops and their families before Christmas. The choir created a slide presentation to go with the song so we’ve posted it on the internet, and we’ve put the recorded version on a website so people can download it. We’ll also send CDs to anyone who requests copies. All they have to do is email me at email@example.com. If anyone wants to donate money to help the project with postage and production costs, that’s great. If not, that’s OK, too, as long as the troops get the message.”
“I hope some military support group gets behind this project and sends thousands of these CDs overseas to the troops! You can bet my parents are getting a copy for Christmas!” Gebert added