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HomeNewsArchivesCAROLING TRADITION KEPT AS SUN RISES AND SHINES

CAROLING TRADITION KEPT AS SUN RISES AND SHINES

Dec. 25, 2001 – Among the brightly decorated lignum vitae trees the carolers marched into Emancipation Garden at daybreak Tuesday for the 2001 Challenge of the Carols, singing songs of love and peace and cheer to the couple hundred early risers who wouldn't start Christmas day any other way.
Honoring tradition, many of the carolers had been out all night in neighborhoods from Caret Bay to Tutu old and new, from Red Hook to Paul M. Pearson Garden. Starting or stopping along the way at a hotel or two, they mainly sang at private homes, where in turn they were treated to holiday food and drink.
This year, Gwendolyn and Edward Harley Sr. received the Luther Robles Award for providing the favorite "watering hole."
This 25th celebration was blessed with warmth as attendees left their raincoats at home and basked in the morning sunlight — once the sun came up. "Thank heavens," said Sylvia Ward, who arrived at 5:30 a.m.to be well situated for the celebration, which traditionally begins at 6 a.m. or thereabouts. "I didn't want to have to be in the rain again." Ward is a familiar face to island diners at the old Williams and Daniel's restaurant on Main Street and at Blackbeard's Castle.
Trading season's greetings and smiles, people mingled in Emancipation Garden among the trees decorated with everything from gingerbread men to pineapples, candy canes and globes of love. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull in a bright print shirt and straw hat sat among those using the planters for benches; traditional attendees Fred and Polly Watts of Harmony Dem were keeping the Christmas beat; Degaulle Brin at the refreshment truck gobbling up some saltfish; Cynthia Farmer brought Oreo, her year-and-a-half-old Shih Tzu done up in red jacket and hat; and Joan Bennett brought her 7-year-old Chihuahua, Dominoe, sporting what she described as "ferret antlers." The crowd didn't appear to know the difference.
The Bethel Baptist Church Choir started off the morning of song, followed by The Voices of Love. Also taking part were the Guardian Angels, DPW Choraliers, Lucinda Millin Home Chorale, Merry Carolers, Party Hardy Caroliers, Salvation Army Songsters and Torchbearers, and the Morgan Quartet.
This year, Sen. Celestino A. White Sr. and his Hapless/Hopeless Caroliers left the donkey at home. White has traditionally led the group into the garden riding on a donkey. This year, they came dressed in firemen's garb, a tribute to the New York City firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center attacks.
Glenn "Kwabena" Davis, one of the event's founders, presented the first-ever Silver Challenge Service Award to the Rev. Bentley Thomas, pastor and choir director of Bethel Baptist Church. Thomas said he has been coming to Emancipation Garden on Christmas mornings for more than the 25 years the Challenge of the Carols has been celebrated.
"Oh, yes. I've been coming to the garden for about 40 years, since the early sixties," he said, smiling. "It's a fine way to start Christmas."
The caroling tradition dates back many decades but fell by the wayside during the years of World War II and after. It was revived in the mid-1970s through the efforts of Davis, Dorothy Elskoe and Vernon Finch of the Christmas Card Challenge of Carols Planning Committee, which sponsors the event nowadays along with WSTA Radio.
At this year's event, the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School Concert Choir won the Esther Marks Award; the New Herrnhut Moravian Church Men's Chorale received the Alex Lloyd Award, the Lucinda Millin Home Family & Chorale won the Governor's Award and Lydia H. Boschulte was named Honorable Choir Conductor.

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Dec. 25, 2001 – Among the brightly decorated lignum vitae trees the carolers marched into Emancipation Garden at daybreak Tuesday for the 2001 Challenge of the Carols, singing songs of love and peace and cheer to the couple hundred early risers who wouldn't start Christmas day any other way.
Honoring tradition, many of the carolers had been out all night in neighborhoods from Caret Bay to Tutu old and new, from Red Hook to Paul M. Pearson Garden. Starting or stopping along the way at a hotel or two, they mainly sang at private homes, where in turn they were treated to holiday food and drink.
This year, Gwendolyn and Edward Harley Sr. received the Luther Robles Award for providing the favorite "watering hole."
This 25th celebration was blessed with warmth as attendees left their raincoats at home and basked in the morning sunlight -- once the sun came up. "Thank heavens," said Sylvia Ward, who arrived at 5:30 a.m.to be well situated for the celebration, which traditionally begins at 6 a.m. or thereabouts. "I didn't want to have to be in the rain again." Ward is a familiar face to island diners at the old Williams and Daniel's restaurant on Main Street and at Blackbeard's Castle.
Trading season's greetings and smiles, people mingled in Emancipation Garden among the trees decorated with everything from gingerbread men to pineapples, candy canes and globes of love. Gov. Charles W. Turnbull in a bright print shirt and straw hat sat among those using the planters for benches; traditional attendees Fred and Polly Watts of Harmony Dem were keeping the Christmas beat; Degaulle Brin at the refreshment truck gobbling up some saltfish; Cynthia Farmer brought Oreo, her year-and-a-half-old Shih Tzu done up in red jacket and hat; and Joan Bennett brought her 7-year-old Chihuahua, Dominoe, sporting what she described as "ferret antlers." The crowd didn't appear to know the difference.
The Bethel Baptist Church Choir started off the morning of song, followed by The Voices of Love. Also taking part were the Guardian Angels, DPW Choraliers, Lucinda Millin Home Chorale, Merry Carolers, Party Hardy Caroliers, Salvation Army Songsters and Torchbearers, and the Morgan Quartet.
This year, Sen. Celestino A. White Sr. and his Hapless/Hopeless Caroliers left the donkey at home. White has traditionally led the group into the garden riding on a donkey. This year, they came dressed in firemen's garb, a tribute to the New York City firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center attacks.
Glenn "Kwabena" Davis, one of the event's founders, presented the first-ever Silver Challenge Service Award to the Rev. Bentley Thomas, pastor and choir director of Bethel Baptist Church. Thomas said he has been coming to Emancipation Garden on Christmas mornings for more than the 25 years the Challenge of the Carols has been celebrated.
"Oh, yes. I've been coming to the garden for about 40 years, since the early sixties," he said, smiling. "It's a fine way to start Christmas."
The caroling tradition dates back many decades but fell by the wayside during the years of World War II and after. It was revived in the mid-1970s through the efforts of Davis, Dorothy Elskoe and Vernon Finch of the Christmas Card Challenge of Carols Planning Committee, which sponsors the event nowadays along with WSTA Radio.
At this year's event, the Addelita Cancryn Junior High School Concert Choir won the Esther Marks Award; the New Herrnhut Moravian Church Men's Chorale received the Alex Lloyd Award, the Lucinda Millin Home Family & Chorale won the Governor's Award and Lydia H. Boschulte was named Honorable Choir Conductor.