While we don’t go overboard with Christmas decorations at Classic Urban Harmony World Headquarters each year, many of our Christmas decorations do have a group harmony theme. On our small Christmas tree are all music related decorations. A bookshelf contains figurines of several doo wop singers dressed for Winter, singing around a streetlamp. Pictured here is a Christmas tree ornament from St. Paul’s A.M.E. church in Bellefonte, PA. Mills Brothers fans will recall that Bellefonte was the ancestral home of the Mills Brothers and St. Paul’s church is important to the Mills family’s history. The Mills family ancestors escaped slavery by way of the Underground Railroad in the 1820’s and made their way to Bellefonte around 1830. Bellefonte had a strong Quaker abolitionist influence and soon became home to free African Americans and escaped slaves who found refuge there. St. Paul’s was the area’s first African Methodist Episcopal church, established in 1853. It has occupied the same location of 121 St. Paul Street since 1859. Members of St. Paul’s actively supported the Underground Railroad, hiding fugitive slaves. Both the Mills Brothers parental and maternal grandfathers, William H. Mills and C. P. Harrington, served as ministers there. William H. Mills worked as Bellefonte’s barber and in the 1870’s and 1880’s sang in the Bellefonte Jubilee Singers, a quintet based on the Fisk Jubilee Singers out of Nashville. To learn more about the Mills Brothers, we highly recommend Douglas Friedman’s recent biography of them, “Four Boys and a Guitar”. Available at www.millsbrothersbook.com/
Of course there’s always music playing at CUH Headquarters and Christmas time is no exception. Whether it’s videos running on our computers or vinyl on our turntables. Scroll down to watch two great, but very different versions of “White Christmas”. First Quiet Storm singing acappella and next the vinyl record of the Vocalaries in the Pinewood label. Enjoy!