Oh yeah. Rock stars may get the babes, but Carolers get the swag. Vendors are sweet with the sweets. This year, we were sent home with warm cookies, caramel lollipops, and fresh popcorn. See some of our group posing for a vendor’s Facebook page here:
4. Children Laughing, People Passing . . .
This reaction was a first for us. A little girl about six years old looked at us, looked at her mom, looked back at us, and laughed like this. . . .
. . . Through all three verses of “Jingle Bells” she laughed. It was more than a little tricky not to catch her case of the giggles.
3. Everyone’s a Critic
Santa invited pets to have their pictures taken with him for one special night at the mall where we sang. We made our usual stroll around the building and finished up next to Santa’s station with three verses of who-knows-what-song.
There were Boxers, Poodles, a Great Dane, and mutts in hats and sweaters standing in line with their people. As if the situation wasn’t confusing enough for them, three weird women in capes and feathers snuck up behind them and started some unrecognizable kind of howling. Most of the canine guests were good sports about it – wagging their tails, licking the floor, sniffing the butt of the dog in front of them in line. But one dog had all he could take. He barked fiercely and lunged at us. He was ready to attack. Fortunately, his owner had him on a short leash. Each time we paused between verses, the dog calmed down and stopped barking. Then as we started the next verse, he went back into attack mode. Being the unflappable professionals we are (and perhaps entertaining ourselves a little too), we did all verses as planned. When we finished singing, our tenor replied with the ever-classic, “Everyone’s a critic.”
2. Be Our Guest
It’s no small thing to ask singers to give up their Christmas Eve for a caroling gig – especially when I’m home in my jammies. But this year we were hired to perform at a private party, and I think from now on the singers will arm wrestle for this one.
During their hour-and-a-half performance, they were offered cocktails. Like a good leader would, Lauren (the soprano) said, “Well . . . maybe after we’re through singing.” After they finished, the host said, “Please stay. Eat. Drink. You’re our guests.”
Now, our general policy is to politely refuse an offer like this, but it was Christmas Eve for crying out loud. They did what I would have done had I been there . . . they accepted. You’d be surprised how hungry you get after a performance, and the prime rib served that evening really hit the spot. You’d also be surprised how thirsty you get after a performance, and the champagne served hit the spot too.
After dinner, dessert, and time to enjoy the band that also performed that evening, the trio was offered a very generous tip. Now, our general policy is to politely refuse an offer like this, but it was Christmas Eve for Pete’s sake. They did me proud . . . and accepted. They also accepted the box of Belgium chocolates given them as they left. But when the valet pulled up with their car, and Lauren offered him a tip, he would not accept. “It’s all been taken care of.” He said. The host had thought of everything.
Not a bad way to spend Christmas Eve after all.
We noticed a couple of women paying attention – like, for several songs. We were a trio at this event, all women. We’ve been singing together for five years, and we actually enjoy it when people listen. We kind of “turn it on” when they do. After about 15 minutes, it was time to stroll on. The women approached us. One woman had Down Syndrome and tears in her eyes. The other woman said, “She wants to tell you something.” We looked to the first woman who was trying to speak, but the lump in her throat wouldn’t go away. The second woman tried to help and said, “She thinks you women sing beautifully.” The first woman swallowed hard and with tears rolling down her cheeks managed to tell us, “You . . . sing . . . like . . . angels!”
I’ve never had a better compliment. And I’ve never been more proud to do what I do.
– Anita, Noted in Nashville