Silent Night [2002]

This is a nicely animated musical that's loosely based on the true story of the composition of "Silent Night" in 1818 by Father Joseph Mohr and Choirmaster Franz Gruber. It's Christmas Eve and mouse-icians Buster and Chauncey are on their way to the town of Oberndorf to sing for the Queen. The whole town is a flutter with preparations, so imagine Burghermeister Huffenmeir's distress when the Duke of Raoche and his niece Lady Gretchen arrive a day early. Also newly arrived is Christina, an orphan girl on her way to Vienna in hopes of finding her aunt and uncle. When the Oberndorf treasure is found missing, all clues point to Christina, who steadfastly denies the charge. Father Joseph believes the girl, but it's up to Chauncey and Buster to prove her innocence and apprehend the real thieves. In the end, the Christmas celebration with the Queen is not as lavish as originally planned but proves much more meaningful. The town discovers that the true meaning of Christmas is not fame or fortune but friendship, sharing, and giving, and they celebrate their new wisdom by singing "Silent Night," a Christmas song composed by Father Joseph and Franz on that tumultuous Christmas Eve. This musical is full of compelling songs written by such great musical composers as Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens, Barry Harman, and Keith Herrmann. Voice talents Phil Hartman, Marie Osmond, and Tom Arnold add much to an already great production. What a wonderful way to communicate the meaning of Christmas. (Ages 3-12) --Tami Horiuchi

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