Christmas Caroling Through the Years
There’s no denying Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol goes hand in hand with music. This story not only has “carol” in the title, Scrooge explicitly shuns a caroler for singing “God Rest You Merry Gentleman” outside his firm. The warehouse of old Mr. Fezziwig is filled with music for dancing and a fiddler. The party hosted by Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, is so filled with music that Dickens’ text reflects, “When this strain of music sounded, all the things that Ghost had shown him, came upon his mind; he softened more and more; and thought that if he could have listened to it often, years ago, he might have cultivated the kindness of life for his own happiness.”
Troy Siebels’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol abounds with traditional music selected and played by Tim Evans on The Hanover Theatre’s Mighty Wurlitzer, accompanied by the 30 voices, which make up the largest cast of this production in New England.
Thus, when producing A Christmas Carol, there is an opportunity, as well as an expectation, for musical outreach in the community “at this festive season of the year,” as Dickens puts it. Over the years, our cast has been invited to carol at Worcester’s Festival of Lights, the Mercantile Center, the Worcester Public Library, at local businesses, hospitals and beyond. In the old days, meaning 2009 when I first joined the cast, we could only accommodate one or two of these caroling events. There is not much time within our 40-plus hour weekly rehearsal schedule to lose our ensemble. Last year, however, Troy Siebels and Director of Marketing and Public Relations Lisa Condit agreed it was time to form our very own caroling group, The Hanover Theatre’s Christmas Carolers, led by Worcester’s own Steve Gagliastro (aka my husband).
The inaugural caroling quartet was able to spread good will and cheer at 10 events throughout Worcester County. This year, The Hanover Theatre Christmas Carolers have already been off to a wonderful start with a live appearance on WBZ’s Holiday Spectacular at Faneuil Hall in Boston. The 2019 carolers include Dan Allison (tenor) from Millbury, Ray Johnson (bass) from Worcester, Arthur Pierce (bass) from Leominster, Dawn Tucker (soprano) from New Hampshire and Shonna Cirone (alto) from Woburn.
I’m very excited to share that we’ve been able to add a new layer to the caroling this year by weaving small portions of Dickens’ narration into the music. I had the privilege of working with the text to expand this vision of our carolers’ repertoire. It’s been exciting to play a small part in the evolution of this group, and I can confidently say, we have come a long way since I first joined the cast of A Christmas Carol 11 years ago.
There are several more opportunities get into the holiday spirit and hear The Hanover Theatre’s Christmas Carolers this year. You won’t want to miss them!
- Saturday, December 7 at 1 PM, Sutton Chain of Lights, Blackstone National Golf Course
- Sunday, December 8 at 12 PM, Grafton Celebrate the Holidays on the Grafton Common
- Tuesday, December 10 at 12 PM, Atrium and Children’s Ward at UMass Memorial University Campus
- Wednesday, December 11 at 2:30 PM at Beaumont, 3:30 PM at The Willows
- Thursday, December 12 at 3 PM, caroling for residents at Southgate
- Friday, December 13 at 6:30 PM, dinner caroling at Nuovo Restaurant
- Saturday, December 14 at 3 PM, Winter Winederland at Julio’s Liquors