In the liturgical calendar, Advent is a time of great darkness — a period of waiting for the Savior to be born. In today’s more secular culture, December gets a jollier treatment set to the tune of sleigh bells and Christmas singalongs. But the Evergreenpoint Carolers, daring to instill religious hymns into an increasingly profane world, have unwillingly brought on the woes of Advent alongside the joys of Christmas.
Three winters ago, canvassers outside McCarren Park scammed one of the basses into giving his credit card for what turned out to not be a “save the animals” cause but a personal fund for a Target spree. The yuletide after, an alto suffered frostbite on her left foot while caroling about. (“Our music warmed spirits, just not my foot,” the anonymous singer said.) And just last year, Omicron came for them all, the health crisis dashing their dreams of making a clean return.
“Ho ho ho? More like no no no,” said Billy McEntee, Head Elf of the carolers.
This year will be different. Coinciding with the return of the Greenpointers Market, the group of ten Evergreenpoint Carolers will take top billing at that beloved neighborhood tradition to celebrate its resurrection alongside family, shoppers, and friends.
“I don’t want to downplay our successes even though it’s been a rough few years,” Music Director Nick Auer said. “We would prefer to bring joy to the neighborhood without the difficulties of fraud and black foot, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for spreading Christmas cheer.”
In an attempt to stave off the threat of Advent’s darkness, the Evergreenpoint Carolers will be diversifying their repertoire, singing classic carols but also nonreligious hits including “Let it Snow,” “Fah Who Foraze,” and a folksy trio rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
“It’s a chance for audiences to know we can be the Sweet Sally but also the Bad-Ass Biddy,” soprano Sharona Gladstein said.
The Evergreenpoint Carolers will open the market on Sunday at 67 West Street, singing at 1 PM and then doing another set at 2 PM. After the market, the troupe will sing outside American Playground (across from WORD Bookstore), along Kent Street, and at McCarren Park (at the Lorimer Street entrance). Each year, the one-time college a capella stars raise money for a local organization; last winter, they were to raise dollars for North Brooklyn Mutual Aid, so the group shall make good on that promise and try again this weekend.
“I decked out the donation box; put money in it,” alto and Wrapping Consultant Max Pendergast said.