Sounds of the season

Carolers spread good cheer around Marietta

Jeremiah’s Coffee Shop on Front Street gradually filled as the carolers arrived, and at 6:45 p.m. the chorus purred the opening melody of “Away in a Manger” and poured out the door.

Friday night was caroling night downtown, the fifth annual such event. More than two dozen friends, families and strangers, men, women, boys and girls and a couple of dogs assembled to walk Front Street, singing as they walked.

Jordan and Brandon Jewett, both 32, brought their 3-year-old son, Blake.

“We just enjoy the singing,” Jordan said. “I used to go out when I was a kid.”

Blake said his favorite carol was “Deck the Halls,” although what he sang sounded like a medley of several songs.

Kelly Anderson, 47, brought her twin daughters Shelby and Abby, both 13. Shelby wore a sash and tiara identifying her as the Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival teen queen, and she said she came in part to support the organizers, Mamaology, a nonprofit that convenes the caroling session each year and has been a part of the multicultural movement in the region.

Kelly said both girls sing at St. Mary Catholic School and take music classes at the school there.

For sisters Debbie Parsons of Williamstown and Shari Shears of Marietta, both wearing red hats trimmed with white, Friday was their first time out for the caroling event. Shears said they saw it promoted on Facebook and thought it looked like fun.

“We like carols, but we’re terrible singers,” Shears said.

“But it gets you in the festive spirit,” Parsons said.

The chorus walked in a long ragged line to the Lafayette Hotel, singing as they went, and gathered in an arc around the Christmas tree in the lobby to entertain guests. They sang at the fountain by the levee, then sang their way up the other side of Front Street, stopping at businesses.

Nicole Raber of Mamaology, the organizing group for the caroling, said a friend started the carol sing on her husband’s birthday five years ago.

“It’s a nice family activity, and downtown Marietta is the perfect place to do it,” she said.

Cat Bigley, accompanied by several children, said it’s a way to make the holidays memorable.

“It’s part of a kid’s childhood experience, a classic tradition,” she said.

Caroling in downtown Marietta

¯ First carol: “Away in a Manger”

¯ Last carol: “What Child is This”

¯ Number of carolers: About 25.

¯ Weather: Mild, with light rain that bothered no one.