Holiday Caroling Plan

Here we go again. Thinking about next Christmas already ­ ‘taint fair. Well, maybe not, but it makes sense if you want to be successful. This is a new twist to that old standby, the Holiday Chorus. Yeah, yeah, yeah, been there, done that. Read on and see if you don’t think this idea might give you an edge at getting some new members.

The plan:

Enlist the cooperation of members, especially quartets. HI & SAI groups nearby make good partners Define neighborhoods in which to go caroling This could be a whole village or a single housing tract depending upon your geographic location and the number of people you can enlist.

Have your plan in place so in October you can approach local newspapers and explain your plan to carol in a given neighborhood(s). Provide a street map, date and time, and those organizations and members involved and explain that you’re inviting the men (and women?) from that area to learn the carols you’ll be singing in four-part harmony so they can go caroling in their own neighborhood. The article should explain that, while the carols are the ones we’re all familiar with, the harmony is different. List time and dates when the carols will be taught and follow through. It would be a good idea to have learning tapes. If you’re working with SAI or HI groups it’s only natural they assume responsibility for teaching the women who respond.

As the Holiday approaches, organize those quartets and individuals who committed to the program, along with the guests from the neighborhood, into units. This could mean one group of 10 ­25; your chapter quartet, five members, five or six neighbor/students and, of course, wives, children and grandchildren. It could be six chapter quartets divided into three or four groups with all the above going to three or four different pre-defined neighborhoods. Keep in mind, this is a family affair. Kids love to ring doorbells and shout Merry Christmas.

Of course the frosting on the cake, or more appropriately, the cookie, is coming in after completing your assigned route to find hot soup, coffee, cocoa, and lots of cookies, accompanied by, what else, barbershop harmony..

The result?

Undoubtedly you’ve gotten good PR with the neighborhood. Maybe a TV crew or a staff photographer from the newspaper accompanied you part of the way. Regardless, the folks who heard you appreciated your effort. More of your neighbors know you exist.

It’s very likely some of those neighbors who learned the carols to sing with you also caught the barbershop bug and became members.

Caveats:

This is a serious commitment. You have an obligation to complete the planned route. A prospective member may live in the last home on the route. Don’t disappoint him.

If the weather is severe a van could follow so those in need of respite have a place to warm up, have a warm drink, etc.

In subsequent years other neighborhoods could be targeted, even other towns.

There are many variations of this theme. Each chapter is in a unique location. Tailor this basic idea to fit your situation. If every chapter does something we can’t help but grow in numbers.

Additional thoughts:

Contact local churches for addresses of shut-ins on your route.

Invite church choir members to join you.

The Chorus of the Genesee traditionally goes caroling the last meeting night before Christmas. If the enthusiasm is there, why limit it to one night?

So there you have it. Will you run with it? Or will let the opportunity pass? Your choice.

by Bill Rohlin

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