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     Pierpoint, James Lord (25th April 1822-5th August 1893)

    He was an organist, music director and songwriter born in Boston, Massachusetts as one of six children.  His father was a poet, an abolitionist and a pastor at Boston's Unitarian Hollis Street Church.  He studied at a New Hampshire boarding school from the time he was 10 and when he was 14 he ran away to sea.  He had returned to the mainland by the mid 1840s where he married and in 1849 he left his family in the care of his father, who was now a minister in Medford, Massachusetts, so he could travel to San Francisco and start a business.  After one of the fires that were commonplace in that city at the time, his stock was all destroyed, so he returned to Medford.  He travelled with his brother to Savannah, Georgia, and became a music director and organist of the Unitarian congregation there.  He also started songwriting and teaching organ and singing and had several songs published.  The Unitarian Church in Savannah closed in 1859 and he became a member of the Isle of Hope Volunteers of the First Georgia Cavalry after the breakout of the Civil War.  During the war years he worked as a company clerk and wrote several Confederacy pieces along with various other types of songs and once peace had been announced he moved to Valdosta, Georgia, and taught music.  In 1869 he relocated his family again when they all moved to Quitman, Florida, where he taught at the Quitman Academy, where he would later become Head of the Music Department, and gave private lessons in piano as well as playing the organ at the Presbyterian Church.  His compositions include "Our Battle Flag", "Strike for the South", "We Conquer or Die", "Wait, Lady Wait", "Quitman Town March", "Kitty Crowe", "The Colored Coquette" and his most popular and extremely successful "Jingle Bells".  He died aged 71 in Winter Haven, Florida, and was buried beside his brother-in-law, Thomas, in Savannah.  Being honoured by the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, his induction happened in 1970.  He was the uncle of J.P. Morgan who was a well-known financier.

     

    Jingle Bells recordings

    Black Dyke Mills Band

    Chandos 4541 (CD: A Christmas Fantasy)

     

    Boston Pops

    Philips 416 287 - 2 (CD:  We Wish You a Merry Christmas)

    Conductor - John Williams 

     

    DG 419 414-2 (CD: White Christmas)

    Conductor - Arthur Fiedler

     

    RCA 09026-61685-2 (CD: Pops Christmas Party)

    Conductor - Arthur Fiedler

     

    Sony SK 48232 (CD: Joy to the World)

    Conductor - John Williams

    Tanglewood Festival Chorus 

     

    Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra

    Naxos 8.990005 (CD: Joy to the World)

    Conductor - Richard Hayman 

     

    Rochester Pops Orchestra 

    Koch CHD 1531 (CD: Joy to the World  Carols for Orchestra and Chorus)

     

    St Louis Philharmonic Orchestra

    Sonari records - 7 55724 00272 3 (CD: Christmas with the Philharmonic)

    Conductor - Robert Hart Baker

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Biographies/james_lord_pierpont.htm
    2. http://www.songwritershalloffame.org/exhibit_bio.asp?exhibitId=195
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Pierpont_(musician)

     

     

     

     

     



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