Historian to discuss stories behind beloved Christmas carols at library

Folk tunes, pagan revels and medieval hymns have all contributed to the musical treasure we enjoy every year during the Christmas season. These songs and more will be discussed on Monday, Dec. 5 at the James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St.

Popular historian John Maietta will present the program, “Joy to the World: The Stories Behind Our Favorite Christmas Carols,” at 6 p.m. Dec. 5. The program presents the colorful stories behind 20 of our favorite Yuletide carols. Among other fascinating facts, you’ll learn who King Wenceslas really was, how a partridge got into a pear tree, why a pastor from Williamsport immortalized the visit of the three kings to the baby Jesus and how a snowy, starry night in an Austrian village inspired a beloved song of Christmas joy and peace.

Maietta is a native of Williamsport and retired from a lifelong public relations career in 2010. For many years he operated a successful freelance business in the Harrisburg area, while simultaneously serving as a public affairs officer with the Pennsylvania National Guard.

Starting in 2002, he completed numerous active-duty assignments with the U.S. Army, including long-term deployments to Bosnia, Kosovo, Germany and Iraq. In 2014 he received a master’s degree in applied history from Shippensburg University. He is currently on the adjunct faculty at York College of Pennsylvania, where he teaches a course on the foundations of Western civilization. He also is a popular presenter of public lectures on a wide variety of cultural and historical topics.

This program is one of the many ways Pennsylvania public libraries support the PA Forward Initiative by providing civic and social literacy opportunities for learning.

The program will be presented in the Lowry Room on the third floor of the Welch Children’s Wing. Registration is suggested, but not required. Visit calendar.jvbrown.edu to register or call 570-326-0536.