December 23, 2013


Carolers spread spirit of Noel

Singers enliven Christmas season at downtown businesses

Carolers Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Carolers sing traditional Christmas songs on Saturday inside the Marketplace Mall.

Staff Reporter

The dulcet tones of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” filled Marketplace Mall on Saturday as a small group of carolers swept holiday cheer into downtown businesses.
The group, led by former music teacher and co-owner of Action Sports, Lisa Belknap, went from business to business bringing with it a taste of the holiday season.
Belknap said she decided for the first time Saturday to gather a group of carolers, mostly from local churches, because she loves music and does not get to enjoy it as much as she once did. She has become more busy over the years running Action Sports with her husband, Matt Belknap.
On Saturday a determined group of 13 singers visited businesses, singing both outside in the light rain and indoors.
Renee Bilodeau came with her mother, Dorothy Bilodeau, to sing carols.
“I just love to sing and I love Christmas,” said Renee Bilodeau, who attends McGrawville Baptist Church with Belknap.
The pastor of the church, Fran Cochran, also caroled with five of his grandchildren, ranging in ages from 5 to 14. He brought the music, traditional carols, and the group sung them a cappella, to the pleased ears of shop owners and patrons.
Elaine and Dave Sturges came from Truxton to sing because they are music enthusiasts and enjoy the Christmas tunes.
Elaine Sturges said she wanted to support the idea of caroling.
“I think it’s a good idea. In the past it has been more popular than now and I’m glad this is bringing it back,” Sturges said.
At the Bling Store, the group sang “Joy to the World” and “Angels We Have Heard on High,” before marching off to the jingling of bells and singing of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Workers at the shop, Fayann Searfoss and Nancy Mann, said afterward they were very pleased to hear the carols.
“It puts you in the mood and adds a lot of spirit to it,” Searfoss said of the importance of caroling during the Christmas season.
Caroling is not as popular as it used to be, those caroling and enjoying the music said on Saturday.
“They used to do it all the time, now it’s not done so much,” Mann said.
She thought the reason for that could be that people are too busy but Searfoss thought the season has lost some of its meaning over the years.
“It’s not as innocent as it used to be, unfortunately,” Searfoss said.
But the pair agreed that the carolers helped to bring the Christmas spirit downtown.
“Anything to promote that is a good thing,” Mann said. “It’s fun, a little uplifting thing.”


To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe