The Story Behind Carol of the Bells
According to Wikipedia, Wilhousky reworked the music for orchestra with new lyrics for NBC radio network's symphony orchestra, focused around the theme of bells because the harmony reminded him of handbells, which starts "Hark! How the bells". It was originally aired during the Great Depression, and Wilhousky copyrighted the new lyrics in 1936 and also published the song, although the song had been published nearly two decades earlier in the Ukrainian National Republic.
Its first popularity arose largely from Wilhousky's ability to reach a wide audience as his role as an arranger for the NBC Symphony Orchestra. It is now strongly associated with Christmas because of its new lyrics, which reference bells, caroling, and the line "merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas".
Biblical Inspiration for "Carol of the Bells"
"And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar." ~ Zechariah 14:20
"On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he does not die." ~ Exodus 28:33-35
"Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" ~ Psalm 150:1-6
Our Favorite Performance of "Carol of the Bells"
Collection of Popular Christmas Hymns and Carols:
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
The First Noel
Joy To The World
O Holy Night
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
O Come All Ye Faithful
Go Tell It On The Mountain
What Child Is This
O Little Town of Bethlehem
We, Three Kings of Orient, Are
Away in a Manger
Have Yourself A