By Maggie FitzRoy
My cheeks felt frosty, my white-gloved fingers were so cold they were almost numb, and my black, wide-brimmed bonnet kept threatening to blow off my head.
But the un-Florida-like weather was awesomely appropriate. I was filled with the spirit of Christmas while singing Christmas carols and classic songs of the season that evening last December on the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club golf course. It was fun spreading joy during the traditional, annual community tree lighting that also included a bonfire and hot chocolate.
As a member of the Christ Episcopal Church Chancel Choir, I was a Christ Church Dickens Caroler: garbed in a Victorian costume straight out of A Christmas Carol, harmonizing my voice with my fellow singers, and encouraging spectators to join in. It was so much fun, I’ve signed up to do it again this year.
The Christ Church Christmas Carolers will offer their sounds of the Christmas season, from November 24 through December 23. The Dickens-dressed ensembles are now taking bookings for private parties in homes, offices, at businesses and for special events. Proceeds raised benefit the Mallory Family Fine Arts Fund, which provides funds for scholarships, the church’s School of the Arts, concerts and special events.
With a repertoire of more than fifty songs, the Carolers began practicing in August last year— the hottest month, when cold, nippy nights were only a dream. But I remember vividly that it was also unseasonably warm and humid that early December evening when we arrived at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club golf course for our tree lighting gig. We took our place on a stage set up in front of a large lake and began to sing “Winter Wonderland.” Then—as if on cue—a strong wind whipped across the lake, dropping the temperature about thirty degrees in thirty seconds. I remember thinking, “God, you have a sense of humor.”
Not all of the Caroler’s gigs are outdoors, however. We sing many indoor ones as well. Last year, we sang at Vicar’s Landing for a special event, which was equally as memorable and equally as rewarding as being out under the stars. The room was brightly lit, our audience members sat directly in front of us, and we could see the joyous expressions on their faces as we sang. They knew many of the songs—Christmas carols that are sung in church, and holiday tunes that play on the radio—and so happily sang along.
But no matter the occasion, the Christ Church Carolers always finish with the same song.
“Good tidings we bring to you and your kin.
We wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy new year!”
For more information and to book an ensemble, email Joe Colsant or call 904-285-7390, ext. 229.