The 12 Songs of Arizona Christmas: 11 Pipers Piping

An undated Christmas photo of Virginia G. Piper and family.
An undated Christmas photo of Virginia G. Piper and family. Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust
Welcome to another edition of the "The 12 Songs of Arizona Christmas," in which local stakeholders detail their most cherished holiday songs. Consider this a musical Advent calendar, where your "treat" is a better understanding of the interesting people and organizations from across the city and state.

11 Pipers Piping

Paul Critchfield, Virginia Piper’s Nephew and Trustee, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

In its 20-year existence, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has worked to "enrich [the] health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County." The trust has invested more than $460 million in programs and nonprofits ranging from medical research and early childhood development to arts and culture and faith-based initiatives. On top of the trust's ongoing grant-making efforts, its "2020 Initiative" will invest in the "organizational capacity of grantees" for over four years. Whatever the project, the trust has provided the Valley with ample support and resources.

"In 1946, at a midnight Christmas Eve mass, Virginia had her first communion in the Catholic faith. This moment was deeply spiritual for her, and midnight masses often close with the song 'Silent Night.' Virginia loved the tranquility of the song. The three of us — Virginia, my mother, and me — sang this favorite often, in glorious harmony, throughout the Christmas season. We had a family tradition of caroling on Christmas Eve. We wore Victorian-style outfits and went to great lengths preparing song sheets that we carried in beautiful folders as we went caroling throughout the neighborhood.”

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Coplan has been a professional writer since the 2010s, having started his professional career at Consequence of Sound. Since then, he's also been published with TIME, Complex, and other outlets. He lives in Central Phoenix with his fiancee, a dumb but lovable dog, and two bossy cats.
Contact: Chris Coplan