Friday, December 17, 2010

Our Own Little Whoville

"Every year it seems like a lot of work to do this and every year I'm glad we did. There'll be something like the way we ended there in that lobby..." C said as we walked homeward, chilly and all sung out.

There was a young man in the group this year, there for his first year of caroling. Don't know how he found out about it but he stuck it out as the group dwindled from our original 30+ to an even dozen. Shyly he explained how decked out one floor of his building was. He thought his neighbors would appreciate us. His home was out of the way of our loose route but not by much so we agreed to go. As we gathered inside the spacious but slightly neglected lobby he was a little bolder when he announced that he wanted to sing O Holy Night. Now only nine of us it was easier to stay together and fun to sing something a little more complex. A couple of neighbors came in and snuck by us, undecided between delight and suspicion. Then a door opened behind us and one after another children came out, probably 6 in all, staring at us in wonder like little Whos from their Whoville. C drifted over and passed out song books for them as we segued into Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. They clumped together, paging through the books to get to the lyrics and singing along. They even brought out their beagle to join in the fun. We got in a third carol before it was time to move on. I thanked them for singing with us.

Now we'd sung at at least 15 houses by that point. We'd sung in another lobby. We'd had the lights turned off on us trying to send us away (we didn't go). We'd been invited into a party already in progress and served a little wassail. We'd been filmed by more flips and iPhones and Blackberries than I could count. But that lobby was the highlight of this year and a good thing to remember next year when it seems like a lot of work to pull the whole thing together.

Many thanks to Lilybainne for trucking from midtown to carol and then trundle home to Queens. It was lovely to spend time with her and sing beside her, which I haven't done in far too long. A thousand thanks to the organizers of this informal little songfest for giving us that opportunity. And thanks most of all to my parents and Auntie Blanche and Mr. Sinclair and Zenga and Mr. Bethel and every other music teacher I've ever spent a moment with for teaching me to carry a tune, sing in harmony, blend and pick a pitch a whole group can sing to. I don't use those skills nearly often enough these days but I used the holy hell out of them tonight and felt lucky to have them.

What are you singing tonight?

1 comment:

  1. Edward Sharp and The Magnetic Zeroes. Not very festive, but sure a lot of fun.

    The one thing I miss about loosing my religion is singing in the church. I loved the candlelight service.