I first joined a choir for carolling during Christmas four years ago.
Initially, I just wanted to continue pursuing choral singing, but the appreciation from the audience made the effort worth it. The feeling you get from nailing a song and watching the audience’s wonderment and enjoyment is irreplaceable for me.
There are a few moments that I will remember forever.
In 2017, a group of people approached us after our last performance at a hotel on Christmas day and complimented us. Within the group, there was an elderly woman, a foreigner who said her husband would have loved to hear us sing as he was a musician.
Unfortunately, he could not get out of the hotel bed as he had suffered a fall about two weeks back. Because of that, they couldn’t fly back home for Christmas and had to stay in Singapore for him to recover. So we agreed to go up to his room to carol to him.
As we squeezed ourselves into the suite, I can still see the husband’s surprised yet excited face when he realised we were going to sing for him. The couple requested “Silent Night” and I will never forget the feeling in the room – it was almost tangible.
The minute we started singing, their faces broke into smiles and we were trying not to cry because the elderly man’s eyes were shining and his wife beside him was tearing.
Later, the couple and their friends thanked us and told us we had brought the Christmas spirit to them. We had long overrun our time and weren’t going to be paid for this, but it was entirely worth it.
There was another elderly couple who usually came to Singapore to spend their Christmases at the same hotel we carolled at yearly. They would ask the hotel staff for our performance timings and faithfully followed us around the hotel to listen.
It became tradition that they would request songs after we were done with the gig. Every year since then, we would look forward to doing an exclusive encore for them. And as we sang, they would always have tears in their eyes, and so would we.
The couple’s heartfelt appreciation really made our unpaid performances worthwhile. I’ve met them three times in the years I’ve carolled, but my seniors tell me they have been fans for longer than that. Last year, only the husband came to see us and we were very saddened to hear that his wife had taken ill and couldn’t leave the hotel room.
I remember this one Singaporean family who came up to us and told us they were our fans. They had caught us the previous year and had specially come down to the same hotel on Christmas in hopes of catching us. This really warmed my heart because in general, locals are less expressive with their appreciation.
This year marks the 10th year anniversary of my choir group’s run. Sadly, the original group also disbanded, so I’ll be carolling with new members. But I’m excited to see the audience enjoying the songs along with us – it really makes you feel the Christmas spirit. And as a Christian, I also have an extra appreciation for the Gospel message in most carols.
If you ever see carollers this Christmas, don’t be afraid to join in and sing along. Spread the festive cheer with us!☺️