Dec. 6—Despite the unseasonably warm weather this past week, which recorded temperatures as high as the mid-70's, Boulder residents still managed to get in the Christmas spirit at St. John's Episcopal Church.
A group of about 50 carolers gathered outside the church to sing Christmas songs and celebrate the holiday season on Sunday.
"It feels so nice to be singing with everyone again!" she Cate Colburn-Smith, one of the carolers, said between songs.
Colburn-Smith was dressed for the occasion. Wearing a knit cap shaped like a Christmas tree, Colburn-Smith danced and sang along to carols such as "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and a rendition of "The First Noel."
For almost 40 years, St. John's has hosted an event in December called the Messiah Sing Along, first introduced by former music director Robert Arentz. The Messiah Sing Along is usually celebrated inside the church, and typically includes a full orchestra and a 40-person choir. The event has since become a longtime favorite for many Boulder residents.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 prevented the event from happening last year, and the event was again canceled this year by event planners because of the delta variant.
However, St. John's new music director, Andrew Halladay, had an idea: Rather than having no event at all, why not just move the event outside?
Halladay invited members of the Messiah Sing Along choir to lead the caroling event, as well as members of the church. The choir — also donning festive Christmas hats — were accompanied by two French horn players, a trumpeter, and a pianist.
While the event was outside, St. John's took an extra safety precaution, and asked attendees to wear masks during the event. Caroling songbooks were distributed digitally using a QR code, a technology that became popular during the pandemic in order to help prevent the spreading of germs.
Though it wasn't the full-fledged event that Boulder residents were used to, St. John's rector, Susan Springer, was impressed with the turnout. "For our first outdoor caroling concert, it has been really pleasing to see this many people here."
Springer credited the success of the event to Halladay, stating, "He really brought in a new perspective this year, and still made it so people could celebrate safely."
Fans of the Messiah Sing Along needn't fret — event planners are hoping to host an alternative singalong in April 2022 for the Easter holiday. With a little luck, the choir may even be wearing bunny ears.