On the heels of her excellent Lenten hymn “Take, Eat, Drink,” Sarah Kroger is back in 2023 and this time with a hymn for the holidays. On October 27, while Catholics around the world were observing the World Day of Prayer for Peace, Kroger quietly dropped a new rendition of “Silent Night,” in preparation for the upcoming Christmas season.
Every year we listen through a new batch of Christmas songs by artists who seek to reimagine the classics and make them their own. While reimagined Christmas songs can be welcome additions to the holiday songbook (look no further than The Drifters’ iconic cover of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas”), here Kroger makes a case for the humble pursuit of recapturing what made the song a hit to begin with.
Kroger performs the song as the music was written by Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818, set to the faithful lyrics by Austrian priest Fr. Josephus Franciscus Mohr. Just as is true for the hymns we sing in church, there is an inherent value to a familiar melody. When the audience knows the tune well, they spend less time considering the flow of the melody and more time contemplating the subject matter, as well as the emotion behind the performance.
With the tone of a lullaby, Kroger effortlessly makes her way through the first verse accompanied by orchestral instruments and piano. As the tune progresses choral elements are added and Sarah’s crisp, clear vocals take on a bit more bombast to match the swell of the accompaniment, all culminating in a tender final line. The result is a faithful and calming hymn that brims with the Christmas spirit.
Sarah Kroger’s “Silent Night” is already available on Spotify, Apple Music, and just about any streaming platform one could want. Be sure to follow Kroger on YouTube and her official website to keep up with all of her wonderful music releases.