Child carolers spread holiday spirit throughout town
LUNENBURG, Mass. (AP) — When was the last time you ever saw a Christmas caroler?
The image of a huddled troop of singers going door-to-door to spread holiday cheer has become an everlasting hallmark of the holiday season, yet you hardly ever spot any of these mobile minstrels outside of Christmas cards or TV specials.
Such had been the case for the streets of Lunenburg until one determined 7-year-old decided caroling is a tradition well worth embracing.
According to her parents, young Theresa Letarte first got the idea last December after watching a series of Christmas movies with her family. “A Christmas Carol” was the one that struck a chord.
“She really wanted to do it with a Charles Dickens flair,” explained her father, Chris Letarte.
“She didn’t want to just go singing. She wanted the costumes. The full things. So we went out on black Friday to the fabric store,” said her mother, Melony Letarte.
The family hand-made 10 Victorian-era hooded cloaks that Theresa and her friends could wear when they went out caroling. They also bought a top hat for her older brother, Waylon, to wear.
The entire Letarte family and their friends became involved in the production, despite their limited previous caroling experience. Theresa’s father had never gone before, while her mother said she had only done it as a little girl.
“I remember going with my Girl Scout troop when I was younger, but it was more organized,” she said.
“It wasn’t just randomly walking around the neighborhood, but that’s what she saw in the movies and that’s what she wanted to do.”
Thursday night served as a trial run ,with several of the Letarte’s neighbors being told in advance that they might be hearing a knock at their door. The group went from house to house, picking ones with displays of ornaments or Christmas decorations because those seemed to be the houses of people who would most appreciate carolers.
After running out of houses, the carolers went to sing in a nearby CVS and were then beckoned by a customer of Sean Patrick’s Restaurant to come inside and sing for everyone.
“I honestly thought it was going to be a mess, but the kids were on point without even rehearsing anything,” said Chris Letarte. “I’m a Grinch, and I thought it was a ball.”
The Letartes plan to make Christmas caroling an annual tradition, but they aren’t the only ones getting into the spirit. Their first night out was so well-received that they actually got requests for places to visit the next day.
“We’ve gotten a lot of messages in the last few days. People saying things like ‘Can you go see my mother? We just lost my father and she’d love to have someone stop by,’” said Chris Letarte.
Rick and Terrie Tranique listen to a group of young Christmas carolers, led by 7-year-old Theresa Letarte, in front of their Lunenburg home on Thursday.
“After we go out this afternoon, we have a whole itinerary of places to go.”
Information from: Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, Mass.), http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com