Dec 16-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: December: Dec 16-07
Remembering Alfred Burt    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 08:16 am:

The traditions we experience during this season are a rich tapestry of sights and sounds woven through the years by a multitude of authors and artists. From the Gospel of Matthew to The Night Before Christmas, from the Song of the Angels to Frosty the Snowman each Christmas tradition has a beginning at a point in time.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula has a footnote in that history. In Marquette in 1920 Alfred Burt was born, the son of an Episcopal minister. The Burt Family had a tradition of composing a Christmas carol each year, beginning when Al was only two years old. He went on to pursue a career in music, graduating from the University of Michigan, playing in the Army Air Force Band during WWII, and joining the Alvino Rey Orchestra in 1949.

Alfred Burt
Courtesy of

No doubt you have heard some of Al Burt's songs, and may not have known he was a native of the U.P. Songs like Caroling, Caroling have been recorded by so many artists, this particular version by the Sixteen Singing Men (though I distinctly hear some ladies in there).

Al composed the music for fifteen carols in all, with words authored by various family members and friends. He died at the young age of 33 and is buried in Park Cemetery in Marquette.

If you are a newcomer to the Pasty Cam, let me welcome you on behalf of the whole Pasty Central crew, which has been very busy in recent days with a record number of orders for the U.P.'s favorite comfort food. Seems a lot of family's have started their own tradition of a Christmas pasty feast. While the Fedex trucks are all booked up this week, you can still order our unique Pasty Gift Certificates, which lets you download a PDF perfect for printing as a last minute stocking stuffer. Then they can be used any time in the coming year for express delivery of a taste of the U.P.

Have a good week :o)
Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 08:35 am:

I love that picture, Charlie. And thanks for the history lesson. I didn't know any of that. Do you happen to know why he died so young?

By Ray Laakaniemi (Rlaakan) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 09:16 am:

Deb, From Wikipedia:Through the early part of 1953, Burt complained of a persistent virus and fatigue. Eventually agreeing to a thorough examination, he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He spent his final months in California buoyed by one final project: For the first time, his carols were going to be recorded.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 09:28 am:

Ray, thank you, and how sad.

By Douginwi (Douginwi) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 10:16 am:

Charlie, thank you for bringing us some interesting history and such lovely seasonal music on a snowy morning here in SE Wisconsin!

Your post also has a personal connection for me, through your link to the Sixteen Singing Men. Dick Anthony - the organizer, director & arranger of the group - is also my dad's first cousin. They both grew up in Waukegan, Illinois (my hometown as well). Anthony family gatherings were always filled with music when Dick or his brother Al Anthony (also a musician, now deceased) were there.

Thanks for the memories! - Karen Spaeth

By Helen (Heleninhubbel) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 11:54 am:

you all have a CHRISTmas and the Happpiest of New Years.........I am leaving for Az today and will be back in a month.....I am looking forward to the sun and warm breezes.......

God's Blessings to all

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 05:15 pm:

Thanks to all those who send their prayers with the passing of my Uncle Friday night and my travels to the Detroit area this week. I'll be flying out Wednesday and returning Sunday just in time for Christmas. Like the song says, "I'll be home for Christmas", well not really; home will always be the Copper Country for the Dr. and I!! ;-)

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Sunday, December 16, 2007 - 08:34 pm:

I hear you Captain. Home will always be where the heart is,
Safe travels on Wednesday. I'll be saying a prayer for you.

By Barry Seymour (Bimplebean) on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 02:14 pm:

This is a fascinating story, a touch sad, but I remember seeing Mr. Burt's name in the past. It's great to think he started a Yooper, although he left when he was two. :-(

You can actually order a CD of his stuff if you want at



By Barry Seymour (Bimplebean) on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 - 02:20 pm:

I have to add to my previous post after reading Mr. Burt's biography on their web site; he and his family kept coming back to the UP and kept strong roots and connections here. It is evident that he was not just born in the UP, he was a True Yooper at heart, as was his family.

A touching story, and the songs sound wonderful.

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