A group of young people has been surprising Niagara-on-the-Lake residents with door-to-door carolling for several Christmases, spreading cheer and collecting donations for the Rankin Cancer Run.
Carolling Niagara began in 2014, and since then, says organizer Jesse Day, they have raised more than $16,000 for cancer research and treatment, for the Canadian Cancer Society and Rankin Cancer Run.
This year, instead of going door-to-door, five carollers are asking residents to register for a visit.
“Obviously the 2020 holiday season looks different in every regard,” says Day. “We were faced with a difficult decision. Do we throw in the towel for a year, or get back to the drawing board, reimagining what carolling can look like in this unprecedented time?
The decision was to make some changes to ensure safety during carolling.
“We love carolling in NOTL. Christmas magic is always alive in NOTL,” says Day. “It’s a town that celebrates Christmas, and we’ve always had an excellent response there.”
The carollers have been friends since they went to Laura Secord High School in St. Catharines, where they were all heavily involved in several music programs.
“We all have music backgrounds. We’re all musicians who are very passionate about our music.”
One of the members, Scott Robinson, is from NOTL, the others from St. Catharines and Thorold.
The group will be carolling three nights, Dec. 19 and 20 in St. Catharines, and the third night, Wednesday, Dec. 23 in NOTL, from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Once a registration form has been filled out online, confirming that they will be home, the carollers will contact them on a first-come first-served basis, he explains, and will try to work out from the response, plotting their route on a map, how long each will take, and how many they can do in a night.
They are hoping to visit 15 to 20 homes in NOTL, and will sing two or three carols at each stop, says Day.
If contacted, participants will have 48 hours to confirm their availability, and will be asked to donate directly to the Rankin Cancer Run online. “We won’t be accepting physical transactions when carolling,” and there will be no minimum or maximum donation amount, he says, and every cent that is collected is spent in the region on cancer research.
Carollers will be physically distanced from doorsteps, and wearing masks, he says, with safety their priority.
To learn more or register, visit: https://carollingniagara.com/