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The rewarding life of a Moorhead Caroler

posted Dec 27, 2018, 10:21 AM by Andrew Tichy
By: Isaac Leiseth

Moorhead High Schools’ Caroling Choir is a well respected and well known school choir, with distinctive outfits and a happy demeanor. If you want to know more about the choir and its director, Katherine Brekke, go ahead and read Patrick’s Wirries story from this news cycle. As someone who just joined caroling this year, I will give you an overview of the process of becoming a caroler, and what it’s like to be one.

Becoming a caroler isn’t easy, but it doesn’t take any special audition. To explain this, I have to explain the structure of choir at MHS. When you first come to the school, you automatically join Varsity Choir (if you choose to do choir). In January you audition for a “higher” choir. If you’re a girl, the next step up is Treble Choir. After that comes Concert Choir, and the final choir is Chorale. In addition to this, if you’re in Chorale you can also be in Vocal Jazz (a smaller, solo based choir), and/or Caroling Choir. You simply do your audition, mention if you want to be considered for choirs higher than the next step up, and then Mrs. Brekke chooses what choir you are in.

Once you are a caroler, it only gets harder. The easy part is getting your costume: a Dickens style set of clothing that gives the Carolers their distinctive appearance. The women wear heavy dresses with hoop skirts, white scarves, and white muffs over their hands. The men wear dress shirts and pants, with some combination of jackets and/or vests over that, white gloves, scarves, and black top hats. Once you’ve got your costume, the real fun starts. There are 17 songs to learn, each in four parts, varying in length. Then, at the beginning of December, the season starts. The season is three weeks and weekends of gigs. Not just one or two twenty minute gigs in a week, but rather something closer to twenty (this year we had 70 performances). This three week period includes about five or six missed days of school. Each gig is a little different, but the gist of them is the same: walk in singing, sing, sing, sing, walk out singing. Oh, and don’t forget to smile. Ever. Seriously, it’s one of the most important parts.

So what is it like to be a caroler? Despite the ridiculous schedule, and the memorization, and the extremely warm costumes, I haven’t met a caroler who regrets joining. So why is that? What is so attractive about it? While there is definitely an aspect of just straight up fun, from the singing and the costumes, the big thing is how it affects people. Every day, even every gig, there is at least one person who absolutely loves it, whether it's the woman who starts crying with a smile on her face, or the memory care patient who starts singing along when he’s invited. And that’s what caroling boils down to: it’s about spreading the Christmas cheer. While this may sound cheesy, it’s true. Every little grin that we see makes us happier, and makes the stress, memorizing and hot costumes worth it.