Bell Ring Sing Reflections I
December 29, 2012

 

[Part 1]

Some awful things happened on December 14th, 2012, not just in Newtown, CT, where dozens of people (children and adults), were shot and killed. In my personal life, this was a difficult day for other reasons, ranking short of receiving news of a serious illness, disease or death. Needless to say, I carried the heaviness of the appalling news reports with my own private distress.

Without subjecting anyone to unnecessary details, my perspective on many things changed that day and I made some decisions:
I thought, “Oh, really? Well, if that is how it is, then…
– I will take better care of myself” (I made a hair appointment the next day)
– “Christmas will not be stolen from me.” (the day after that I picked up a Christmas Tree and planned to go caroling)

Christmas Caroling is something that has fascinated me since childhood. I remember some singers walking down my street on Christmas Eve when I was very young and I have seen countless carolers on television and in movies. They sounded so beautiful!

I have always wanted to go caroling. Although I have had many opportunities to sing throughout any given year, including at Christmas-time, this desire has yet to be fulfilled. During my mid-December low point, I remembered this longing and planned to pursue it.

Before I went any further, I felt the need for some good to come from this; it could not just be about me doing something that some people might put on their “bucket-list”. Could the community benefit in some way? A charity can be connected to advance the concept of “good will”, which is essential to the fabric of Christmas tradition.

Next, I set out to create my Christmas identity/brand: “Miss Christmas Caryl” and started blogging, posting to Facebook, texting and tweeting. In the two weeks that followed, my blog saw 99 views; my Twitter account welcomed 20 followers* and two people followed the blog just because they read my first post moments after I published it.

Twelve responded to my caroling invitation and I was very encouraged, even though some could not attend. After hearing the concept, one dear friend replied, without hesitation, that she thought I had a “good idea”. Others took the initiative to share my posts on their Facebook pages and I am very grateful. I received a handful of texts requesting more information from those who had questions.

These initial results suggest that my Bell Ring Sing has potential. So, I am already planning for next Christmas season (2013). If you are reading this, please take a moment to follow or subscribe to this blog. When you do, you will receive an e-mail every time I post an update. Please also consider following me on Twitter @bellringsing. I will post updates and additional Christmas related content there that might not appear on the blog. Whether you choose Twitter or the blog, all you need is an e-mail address to stay connected with the Bell Ring Sing.

Those who know me also know that I have an e-mail address for each of them, but I cannot add anyone as my follower. That has to be each person’s own decision and action. Following will make it easier for us to keep in touch about this project. I will not have to manage contacts or e-mail addresses for those who might be interested. And December 24th will not arrive with people wondering “Whatever happened to that Christmas Caroling thing?”

At this time, all I am requesting is that you subscribe to this blog and/or follow me on Twitter, please (As the next Christmas season draws near, Meet-ups and Facebook events may be added so you can invite others). I also welcome your comments on my blog posts as well as Twitter replies and re-tweets.

Thank you very much for your interest, prayers and encouragement. These mean more to me than I can ever write or say.

Sincerely,

Miss C.C.

*I am following myself from my original Twitter account.

Christmas Caroling Flash-mob Details (Wash. D.C. area)
December 22, 2012

TWO LOCATIONS have been selected for the very first @BellRingSing:

Sunday, December 23, 2012
UPDATE: Instead of finding a bell ringer as a starting place, we will start in front of a store that is easy to find by everyone.

2:00 p.m. – Iverson Mall http://www.iversonmall.com
3737 Branch Ave. Hillcrest Heights, MD
Start at Burlington Coat Factory
(MD north of the beltway on Branch Ave.)

3:00 p.m. – Potomac Yard http://www.mypotomacyard.com
3671 Jefferson Davis Hwy Alexandria, VA
Start at Shoppers Food Warehouse
(VA on Route 1 near Crystal City)

Both are inside the Washington beltway and are reasonably close to the city. Each is accessible by public transportation and has an abundance of parking with wide open spaces where lots of singers can fit. All flashmob singers are welcome at both locations, but it is fine if you can only attend one location.

WHAT TO WEAR – So we don’t frighten anyone, please dress for the event. Maybe skip the costume but wearing bright seasonal colors is a good idea. (Where is my Christmas Sweater?)

WHOM TO BRING/INVITE: Your children, cousins, coworkers, classmates, choir members, nephews, neices, neighbors, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends … etc.

WHERE TO MEET: Find the store that is closest to the city. At Potomac Yard, the store closest to the city is on the far left as you look from the main road (Shoppers) & at Iverson the store farthest to the right is closest (Burlington Coat Factory).

WHAT TO BRING: Your smartphone: when you arrive, for those on Twitter, tweet that you are at the @BellRingSing and what store you’re near. Bell ringers sometimes move between multiple entrances. Your camera. Photos and videos may be uploaded to Twitter using #bellringsing or directly to me using @bellringsing (Thank you).

THE SIGNAL TO START: Set your mobile phone alarm for the time of the bellringsing. When the alarms go off at the same time, we will know it is time to start singing. Don’t forget to shut off your alarms as soon as the carols begin. If you arrive late, don’t leave, join us.

WHAT TO SING: The song-list consists of some popular classics that are also easy to sing for most people: “Jingle Bells”, “Joy to the World”, “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”, “Silent Night” (let’s keep it simple, it is our first time). If the weather is a factor, we will want to keep it short.

CAROLING: After we finish the first song, we will walk and sing moving past the storefronts toward the other end of the mall. We should finish singing by the time we reach the last store (Target @ Potomac Yard). Otherwise, a song may be repeated.

CONSIDERATIONS: Since many who come to sing will likely not know most of the others who are there, if we sing the most familiar version of each song, more people will be able to keep up. While singing harmonies is encouraged, singing unique versions of the songs, that only a small group of people know, may throw everyone else off.

RESPECT FOR THE MALL: This is a peaceful gathering for the sole purpose of singing Christmas carols. We should be careful not to block car traffic or the flow of people on foot. If the police or a mall security officer asks us to leave, we should do so quickly and safely. We will find another place to sing next time.

ARE YOU EXCITED? I am! Whether 20 or 2,000 people show up for this, I will be happy to sing with you all. Thank you for being willing to lift your voice and go caroling!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

“Miss Christmas Caryl”