Caroling: A Tradition Revisited

Emily Winston, staff Writer

Christmas carols were composed in the Middle Ages. Although the word carol originally meant “dancing in a circle”, with time, the meaning of the word has changed. The songs sung during this time included pagan songs, which were sung at the Winter Solstice, which falls on or around December 22. Prior to carolers, “waits” were the official carol singers who only sang on Christmas Eve. During this time, orchestras began forming in the cities, which further promoted caroling. Today, caroling often refers to singing Christmas tunes in the street, at public vicinities, or during religious services. Caroling is an important aspect during the holidays.

On Thursday, December 19th, Ward Melville Camerata will perform traditional holiday songs at the Three Village elementary schools. The halls will be filled with The Wassail Song, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Past 3’Oclock, Winter Wonderland, and Home for the Holidays, all sung in four part harmonies. This caroling trip is a Camerata holiday tradition. Senior Jenna Raynoha remarks, “It is such a rewarding experience to see the joy on the children’s faces as we walk through the hallways of their schools. I remember when I was in elementary school, and I saw those high school students singing outside my classroom. It was just one of the coolest things, and all I wanted was to be like them when I got older. Caroling in the schools is really one of my favorite performances we do as Camerata. It’s such a great way to start off the holiday break and everyone just loves it.”

On Friday December 20th, the Ward Melville Chamber Orchestra will visit local hospitals, including Stony Brook and St. Charles, to spread holiday cheer. Chamber O orchestra members will don festive attire and perform Christmas pieces on their strings. Violist Michaela Cunningham anticipates the upcoming event remarking, “I believe that performing Christmas songs at hospitals is a great way to spread the holiday cheer while helping our community.”