We met on the Gill Common with good intentions. Songbooks were passed out, a few practice numbers were run through. Then it was time to share the season’s good cheer with the citizens of the village. In a group, including youngsters and a dog on a leash, we made our way to our first audience. They were captive–sitting in the basement of the church, having a meeting.
We sang God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as the dozen or so senior citizens looked up at us, bemused. They enjoyed our rendition and we kept on, giving them We Wish You a Merry Christmas as a processional as we proceeded out the door.
We looked around, as a group, for a house to surprise with song. Someone pointed to a house with a light on and we headed that way. A member of our group reached in and by mistake hit the garage door opener, and it sprang open. We began into Good King Wenceslas, to an audience of none. We thought they would come and we sang, but they didn’t until finally a woman came to the door with a smile. We sang for her and then crossed the road and headed to a house that was pretty dark.
A dog barked angrily from inside. A light flicked on. We began to sing again. No one ever appeared below the light, as if they were too shy to confront this mass of neighbors singing carols like people used to do. They never came to the door.
It was getting cold as we made our way to another house this one lighted gaily with multicolored decorations. Surely they would appreciate our gesture. We sent a youngster up the stairs to knock. We began to sing. After a verse, the door opened and a guy in a tee shirt came out, shivering in the cold night. A woman joined him on the railing, as we gave him our good cheer in the cold dark night.
He picked up a cellphone and began to talk. Somehow this had seemed to be a good idea, but clearly it was time for our retreat. The Gill Tavern was warm and inviting as we made it back. The hot chocolate was creamy and we had done our singing to an audience of about ten. Oh well.