Carol singers bring joy to the elderly

Carol singers bring joy to the elderly

Groups in Bengaluru practise for months before they go out and spread cheer in their neighbourhoods

No Christmas is complete without carol singing. Equipped with guitars and drums, singers walk into people’s homes and sing carols with messages of hope, laughter and joy.

Several groups in Bengaluru are keeping the traditional spirit of carol singing alive. They sing in a host of languages: Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, to name a few. Anglo-Indian groups practise long and hard to render popular pieces during the season.

The carol singers either belong to church youth wings or are just a bunch of friends. Alisha Ranji, a member of the youth wing of the Marthoma Syrian Church on Primrose Road, says her group goes to homes to cheer the sick, the elderly and the bed-ridden. “We are thrilled when we see the joy on their faces,” says Alisha. When her group visits army personnel, it is a joy to see them sing along. “They stay away from home for most of the year and the only time they have with their families is during Christmas,” Alisha says.

Carollers usually go around at night and render ‘Joy to the world’, ‘Jingle bells’ and ‘Santa is homing home.’ “These are all-time favourite carols,” she explains.

Sim Pereira, a Class 11 student of Sophia High School, goes carol singing with a bunch of her friends. Her group usually visits the homes of friends and family. “We are more than happy to visit the homes of our non-Christian friends and get them to sing along. Christmas is a festival of all mankind, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. It also cuts across barriers of language and region,” says Sim.

She feels it is important to keep the spirit of Christmas alive through carols. Her group sings improvised versions of ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Joy to the world’ and if children are around, adds ‘Dashing through the snow’.

The youth wing of St John’s Malankara Catholic Church in Singasandra renders traditional carols in Malayalam. Rohit Saju Varghese, a youth member of the church, usually dresses up as Santa Claus. “Nobody wants to dress up as Santa because the costume can get a little uncomfortable and heavy. But I love it because there’s so much of joy and laughter around him (Santa). Somehow he brings a smile on the faces of the young and old,” says Rohit. He carries plenty of chocolates to distribute, and that makes him doubly popular. This group also picks tunes of songs from old films and adds its own lyrics. “With this, we add a fun element. The lyrics are funny and ring in a light moment,” says Rohit. 

Youngsters like Aleyna Mohanraj, who has just completed class 12 has been going carol singing for the last five years. She feels that it is important to keep the tradition of door-to-door carol singing alive because it spreads a lot of positive energy and brings in joy and laughter. “We usually visit old age homes and nobody really goes there. It is a joy to see them soak in all the fun and excitement. Their faces light up the moment we start singing,” explains Aleyna. She also feels one doesn’t have to be a professionally trained singer to render carols. “It’s a fun thing to do and we see a lot of youngsters who make time to be a part of this activity,” says Aleyna. 

Abishek Gnanaraj, music director of Sophia High School, who has been a part of carol groups from his childhood, says he looks forward to the season of Christmas. “It’s a fun affair that brings together families and friends. There are many who take time off to be a part of this rendition,” he says. Abishek, who is a part of the St Andrews Church carol group, says “Our list of popular carol includes ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful’ and Feliz Navidad. The instrumentalists who come along lend a lot of energy to the whole process,” Abishek signs off. 

 

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