1. Strings sheet music cover of The Christmas Tree Ship, composed by Sarah Siegler.

The Christmas Tree Ship

Composer Sarah Siegler

The Christmas Tree Ship was inspired by the fascinating historical account of a ship called the Rouse Simmons, nicknamed “The Christmas Tree Ship”. It sailed on Lake Michigan delivering Christmas trees from Michigan to families in Chicago in the early 1900s and its captain, Herman Schuenemann, was nicknamed “Captain Santa”.

The piece begins with a joyful jig and sleigh bells to portray the joy of sailing and the kids waiting for “Captain Santa” to arrive. The second violins then play a Norwegian carol, “Jeg Er Saa Glad” which translates “I am so glad each Christmas Eve”. The happy sentiment continues when the cello section begins “O Tannenbaum” which is “O Christmas Tree”. Everyone can feel the joyful anticipation of the ship.

Tragically, the story takes a sad turn and in 1921 the Rouse Simmons sank in a terrible storm. The piece describes this sorrowful event beginning at measure 61. At measure 83, the violas begin a minor version of “O Tannenbaum”, expressing the deep loss of everyone who knew Captain Santa, his ship and crew.

Thankfully, the tragedy turns into triumph again when Captain Santa’s wife Barbara and her children decided to continue the tradition of sailing a new ship and bringing the Christmas trees to Chicago again. This happens at measure 103, and then the joyful jig and O Tannenbaum are joined together for a compelling, triumphant conclusion. Enjoy this unique programmatic holiday piece!

PDF Sample Score View Sample PDF

Regular price $58.00