Bringing in the spirit of Christmas through music: Meet Pune’s carol groups
Carol singing announces and spreads the joy of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For us Christians, it helps prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus into our hearts and homes on Christmas eve. Moreover, it helps in bonding the community, says Alexander Fernandes, founder, Christbearers (a Gospel rock band), Wakad.pune Updated: Dec 10, 2017 15:32 IST
The corridors of Divine Mercy Church wear a different look this week and its walls echo Christmas hymns and carols. Father Malcolm Sequiera is patiently practising carols with the parish members as they prepare to spread the Christmas cheer through carols and hymns a few weeks before Christmas.
Carol singing is a musical and interesting ritual following by catholics and Christians a few weeks before Christmas. Father Malcolm said,“The idea is to create an ambience for the upcoming Christmas celebrations. All the songs sung are praising the Lord and welcoming the birth of Jesus Christ. We spread the festive spirit by visiting homes in the evening reminding them that the Christ is arriving.”
This is the 10th year that the members of Divine Mercy Church will be conducting carol singing in the neighbourhood.Alexander Fernandes, founder, Christbearers (a Gospel rock band), Wakad added, “Personally, I’ve been involved in carol singing since my childhood (age of 7-8).Carol singing announces and spreads the joy of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For us Christians, it helps prepare ourselves to welcome Jesus into our hearts and homes on Christmas eve. Moreover, it helps in bonding the community. Being a musician, carol singing is a way that helps me reach out and bring the joy of Christmas to people. This is the only time of the year when we can go door to door singing. Hence, we look forward to it every year.”
The groups starts practice by the end of November. The practice sessions happen two-three times a week and sometimes, continue throughout the month. Alexander said, "Carol singing is not only for the ‘talented’ singers. Having said that, a few good singers are a must though to help steady the ship. We ensure they are present. We keep it open to the community and primarily get people who enthusiastically give their time for the activity. We’re usually about 10 to 15 members.” Popular Christmas carols include Hark on hear, Little Drummer Boy, Long Time ago in, Joy to the world and Silent Night.
The main challenge is the availability of people. In today’s time and age, the groups have people working nights, people unavailable even on weekends, some out on holiday or travelling home because its December. Some are not even interested as they see a better option by paying and going for Christmas parties/carol singing/dance with food and beverage hosted by hotels or restaurants. Father Malcolm shared,“We also have to ensure that people remember why we celebrate Christmas. In the whole commercialisation bargain, people tend to get carried away with decorations, sweet making and shopping and the real essence of Christmas spirit is lost. So, carol singing groups help revive this.”