Carolers Sing, Are Ya Listenin’?" />
The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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Carolers Sing, Are Ya Listenin’?

Art by Katie

Hockaday choir singers spread Holiday cheer, singing loud for all to hear

As students prepare for the Holiday season, many reminisce on the time-honored traditions that make their fondest winter memories: sipping hot cocoa by the fireside, baking gingerbread men, decorating the home with Hanukkah dreidels, Kwanzaa candles and Christmas nativity scenes or watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

For as long as most students can remember, those traditions have been a part of their holiday celebrations, but as new traditions are added to the list, some bump down (when’s the last time you strung a garland with popcorn and cranberries?). And caroling, one of the oldest Holiday activities with hymns that date all the way back to fourth century Rome, has definitely taken a hit.

But Hockaday choir girls have continued the tradition and integrated the holidays into their singing schedules, reviving the old-timey holiday spirit of family and community, despite the increasing unpopularity of neighborhood caroling.

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“I feel as if caroling used to be much more popular around 10 years ago in more rural settings,” sophomore Shreya  said. “As the Dallas metroplex developed, there was not as much quaintness or charm, or perhaps there was a lack of a sense of community.”

As properties grow and distances between houses increase, neighborhoods lose their sense of kinship.

“People are much more concerned with safety as well. Decades ago, there was significantly less neighborhood crime,” sophomore Emily said. “It’s perceived to be generally more questionable now for people to go up and knock on your door.”

When asked to give their last caroling experience, most girls answered Middle School, but remember the time fondly.

“Seeing the reactions of people who answered the door was the best part, especially the surprise on kids’ faces. It was so much fun to spread holiday cheer,” junior Ramie said of her first caroling experience.

And the choir girls will do just that. Clad in green plaid skirts and fluffy Santa hats, the concert choir plans to spend an afternoon at Northpark Mall on Dec. 14, an annual Holiday tradition for the girls and the final exam for their fine arts grade.

“We start learning the songs for the Holiday concert in September,” concert choir member senior Rachel said. “The Northpark performance outside of Dillard’s is one of the required performances of the year, but we have a great time and celebrate before we arrive at Northpark.”

For their annual holiday festivities in the past, the choir moms have prepared a large brunch of Hockaday favorite Chick-Fil-A chicken-minis before the Northpark performance, while students move all of the chairs out of the choir room, preparing enough space for the secret Santa gift exchange.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know more people in choir. Because we have so many people, that’s not always possible. It’s a time for everyone to bond and celebrate,” junior Jordan said.

Gospel Choir made their annual appearance at the mall on Dec. 10, taking full advantage of a large audience, crowded with Saturday holiday shoppers. Their carols take a more booming tone as all of the songs have been arranged and revamped with a gospel-styled attitude that usually invites the crowds to clap along.

“The girls…walk around, inviting people to come listen to them sing, and the people really are so receptive. They clap hands and sing along, and kids dance in the front. It’s a great atmosphere,” Gospel Choir Director Sabrina Kessee said of the Holiday performances in past years.

The Gospel Choir also scheduled an addition performance for Family Gateway Shelter in downtown Dallas on December 8th, a new gig for the club. Concert Choir will sing for Austin Street and Vickery Towers over the holiday break.

So while Christmas caroling may be fading, the Hockaday choirs try to keep the Christmas spirit alive in song.

– Katie

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