A random bunch of Wraggle Taggle gypsies-O singers, musicians, and people seeking fun gathered at the New Deal Café recently, practiced a carol or two for the regulars, and set out to share holiday cheer—or anarchic caroling—with friends and neighbors.
This band hardly resembled the prim little clusters of holiday carolers depicted on Christmas cards and album covers. Rather they brought the motley, joyful spirit of medieval revelers and minstrels—complete with a Lord of Misrule decked with lights and bells—to Greenbelt.
The group danced and pranced and jingle-belled its way across most of Ridge Road, stopping at the homes of acquaintances or just standing in a court and singing. The singers even serenaded Green Ridge House, bringing residents out on a balcony to hear “Silent Night.”
Special friends got treated to some non-traditional holiday music such as the Grinch song or “Chiron Beta Prime” by JoCo—Jonathan Coulton. One or two houses presented holiday offerings of cookies, cupcakes, and cider — a blessing to hungry and thirsty singers!
Another group of carolers — assembled by Internet postings and word of mouth — gathered at the Holiday Market organized by the Greenbelt Farmers Market board and vendors this past weekend. Armed with a short practice session and songbooks, the eight or nine carolers, directed by Mara Hemminger, were joined by several other singers at the market.
They provided a tuneful backdrop for the holiday shoppers. Some accomplished singers harmonized with the traditional melodies, and those who stuck to the end were treated to a Rob Petrie solo of the Grinch song.
So, Greenbelters, take advantage of the warmer weather and spread a little holiday cheer. The unseasonably warm and snowless December weather this year may not seem much like Christmas, but roving bands of holiday carolers have an easier time when not facing subzero temperatures and gale-force winds!
You can carol on your street, your court, your condo building rec room, or at your apartment complex. You probably don’t need to practice — there are at least a few people in every group that will know the standards. But some photocopied sheets with the words to the songs like — “Joy to the World” and “Deck the Halls” — that seem to have an endless number of verses—will keep everyone on the same page!
A little advance warning to neighbors that caroling will happen on a certain day or time, might even elicit a contribution of cookies and cider at one of your stops.