Oh, come all ye faithful carolers
Doris Snow and daughter Miranda Hardfield enjoy the Christmas carols sung by carolers Friday night. Following a decade long tradition members of the Countryside Community Church congregation sing carols at the doorsteps of neighbors in the vicinity of the church in Contoocook as well as a visit to the village seniors apartment complex. Photo by Bob LaPree (Bob LaPree)
12/20/13--Parker Academy students Marisa Myers of Laconia, left, and Hunter Bolduc of Hooksett and teacher Jim Parker sing holiday carols near the State House in Concord on Friday. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER
12/20/13--Students and faculty from Parker Academy in Concord sing holiday carols near the State House on Friday. From left are Jennifer Kretovic, Dave Parker, Emily Schmieder, Alexis Ramsey, Ryan Wells, Megan Lundquist, Ryan Bonta, Marisa Myers, Hunter Bolduc, Jim Parker and Paul Keiner. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER
Blame it on the hectic pace of modern life, isolation from our neighbors, or competition from media and technology.
. And two local churches hope to fill the Milford Oval on Christmas Eve (Tuesday) for a traditional carol service at 6:30 p.m., followed by refreshments.
"Everyone's invited," Howard said. "I think it's just a very friendly, nice, calm, Christmas thing to do."
Howard said she sometimes still gets groups of neighbors who come caroling at her home near the park. "It just makes me weep," she said. "I love it. It's just so old-fashioned and neighborly and nice."
"We spend about an hour socializing, singing Christmas carols and trying to entertain them a little bit for the holidays," Ranalli said.
And on the way back, they stop along Central Avenue at local shops and restaurants - "any place that's open," she said. "They're shocked, but they love it."
Ranalli said caroling is a way to "share the story of Christmas and bring joy, simple joy."
A group of students from Parker Academy in Concord took time out from school work on two separate days last week to go caroling downtown.
"It's amazing how appreciative people were," said Paul Keiner, the English and history teacher who directs the chorus. "It's doing something as a community, and I think people appreciate that."
Parker said it also gives the students a chance to connect with their community. "Performance has a place in learning because you put yourself out there," he said. "And I think for our kids that's really important because you want them to feel safe and integrated in the community."
"We have a little party with them," she said. "They sing with us, and we bring in hot cocoa and cookies.
Bacon, who started caroling during her college years in Portland, Maine, said she's never missed a year - not even the year she was on crutches.
"It kind of makes the holiday because you get to share what the true meaning for the season is with folks," she said.
Bacon has done some research into the history of caroling and discovered it was traditionally done on Christmas Eve. "It started out with children doing it, and people would give them candy."
The group traditionally has modeled its event on "The Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols," which dates back to Christmas Eve in 1918 London, when the world was celebrating the end of the "Great War." There are traditional carols and Scripture readings.
Christine and Ed Munz have been caroling together since they were paired as singing partners in high school in Wisconsin. That was 45 years ago.
It's also a chance to slow down and share the Christmas spirit with neighbors, she said.
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