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A Christmas Classic: Bing, Berlin and the Story of White Christmas

It’s a proud fact we locals love to share, and often: Famous crooner Bing Crosby was Spokane born and bred, and a Gonzaga alum to boot. But how much do you know about Crosby’s most famous song, “White Christmas?” Find out with a new online exhibit by Gonzaga history students and their professor Ray Rast. The iconic track, first performed in 1941 amid the turmoil of World War II, was penned by Irving Berlin, a Jewish immigrant, and helped redefine Americans’ view of Christmas, both making it more commercialized but also inclusive, the exhibit argues. “Berlin was not trying to change the Christmas tradition in America, but this song was different than most of the carols that came before it. It did not mention the birth of Jesus, angels or wise men — and it was a song that all Americans, including Jewish immigrants, could embrace.”

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— Chey Scott