The 30-person Gilroy High School Chamber Choir is going to
Europe, and they need $2,700 a singer to make it happen.
Choral director Phil Robb and his Chamber have been busily
polishing up on its Christmas repertoire in the past weeks.
“Make it sweet!” yelled choral director Phil Robb, his voice rising above ephemeral layers of harmony and melody. His pupils huddled around a piano, sheets of “We Wish You Merry Christmas” in hand.
“Can you sing this like you love – ”
Robb waved his hands abruptly, signaling the singers to stop.
“Wait – we all know what figgy pudding is, right?”
The 30-person Gilroy High School Chamber Choir is going to Europe, and they need $2,700 a singer to make it happen.
Robb and his Chamber have been busily polishing up on its Christmas repertoire in the past weeks.
Enter Rent-a-Caroler: A seasonal fundraiser spearheaded by Chamber students that adds good, old-fashioned warmth to cheerfully hearten any Christmas get-together.
Carolers can be rented in portions of eight for $125, 12 for $200 or 20 for $300. Robb said private gatherings and events at wineries are perfect backdrops, and prefers students not be scheduled during school hours.
“They might as well get paid for what they’re doing, instead of selling teddy bears or suckers.” he said.
Not only that, but caroling a nostalgic part of Americana holiday charm – is seemingly infrequent in the swarm of industry commercialism.
“I went to all of them last year,” said 16-year-old junior Andrew Mikkelsen on lasts season’s caroling gigs. “We get to conduct ourselves. It’s our time to shine. Heck yes.”
Provided they can raise the money, the Chamber hopes to attend a April 1-9 European singing tour, where they will stop in such exotic destinations as Budapest to perform with other groups.
“I’ve never left the country,” said senior Katrina Uribe, 17. “I’m so excited to go to Vienna.”
Robb said this will be the eighth international trip taken by the GHS Chamber Choir. And while funds have been tight in the past, they’ve managed to make it happen.
Now in its 10th year of Rent-a-Caroler fundraising – the Chamber is well worth the fee, judging by their rendition of “All My Heart This Night Rejoices.” As their voices reached a collective apex of “Gloria,” the culminating effect was goose bump-inciting.
The Chamber Choir also has considerable manpower, for a high school group.
“Our challenge this year is that the basketball team is half of the Chamber men,” said Robb.
Dylan Jensen, 17-year-old senior and basketball player, said some of the Chamber men sporadically break out in song.
“We’ll start beat boxing and harmonizing for fun. People think we’re crazy but it’s really amusing,” he said.
Jensen’s been with the Chamber Choir for the past three years.
“I just enjoy going around and getting to sing to random groups of people,” he said. “I don’t know anybody besides our choir who gets to sing Christmas carols. It’s always the most fun part to me.”
So far, the Chamber has 33 caroling bookings. And they need more.
At 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, there will also be a joint concert featuring combined groups from GHS and Christopher High School at GHS’s cafeteria.
Some of the proceeds generated by the $5 entree fee will help contribute to the Chamber Choir’s trip cost.
“We’ll also invite the alumni to join us for ‘Carol of the Bells,’ at the end of the concert,” reminded Robb.
By the way, figgy pudding is a Christmas desert containing mashed figs thickened with bread and cream custard.