The show must go on.
The local effort to continue one of New Canaan’s oldest holiday traditions has paid off! This year’s Christmas Eve caroling on God’s Acre will go on, albeit in a socially distanced manner that will certainly be remembered for years to come.
Concerns about COVID-19 exposure prompted the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce to cancel this year’s Christmas Eve caroling celebration on the grounds of the Congregational Church. Instead, New Canaan Public Television (NCTV79) will host a pre-recorded 1-hour Christmas Eve program that will feature internationally acclaimed pianist Andrew Armstrong.
Armstrong will perform a repertoire that will feature classical Christmas music and traditional carols. Singing will be provided by the Madrigal Ensemble and the Bella Voce choirs from New Canaan High School, and the New England Academy of Dance will perform a selection from The Nutcracker Suite.
The show will be televised at 6 p.m on Christmas Eve, with repeat performances scheduled on NCTV79 for anyone who can’t watch the Christmas Eve show. High-definition video of the performance will be available on NCTV’s YouTube channel, YouTube.com/NCTV79.
Producing and taping the video took many hands. The New Canaan Chamber Music and NCTV79 collaborated on production. The Carriage Barn Arts Center served as the recording studio and Samantha King of SBK Staging and Styling decorated the Arts Center space where the performance was taped.
A 9-foot Bluthner piano was donated by Allegro Pianos and images were provided by Devon Chivvis Creative. Donations were used to pay for the production crew. Armstrong, who served as the show’s creative director, recorded his music on December 1st. Additional guest performances have been recorded in the ensuing weeks.
Caroling on Christmas Eve in New Canaan was first documented in 1916. The tradition of caroling around a lit Christmas tree has continued every year since, with the exception of 1942 and 1943 when the U.S. was fighting in World War II in Europe and restrictions of energy use prevented the community from lighting the tree.