It’s a holiday tradition that predates the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park.
“The very first holiday singalong on that property dates back to 1968,” Wolf Trap President Arvind Manocha told WTOP. “Our founder Catherine Shouse lived on that property. It was her farm, and she started the tradition of inviting local choruses and musicians to come together in early December and for the community to be invited.”
This year, Wolf Trap’s “Holiday Sing-A-Long from Home” airs virtually on Dec. 5 and Dec. 19.
“We didn’t want to see that tradition ended,” Manocha said. “We thought, ‘Even though we’re in a pandemic, people still need the holiday cheer, maybe now more than ever,’ so we thought, ‘Well, let’s do what we do,’ which is turn to digital distribution.”
The concert will feature the United States Marine Corps Band and 500 local singers.
“We brought the Marine Band into the Barns at Wolf Trap and filmed essentially a version of the traditional holiday singalong,” Manocha said. “We did keep it a little smaller on stage for social distancing and safety. … You’ll be able to watch them with lyrics and the bouncing ball, so it makes it very easy for everyone to follow along.”
Both free shows will feature different set lists for a fresh batch of carols each time.
“Things that people know and love and expect, from ‘Frosty the Snowman’ to ‘Joy to the World’ to ‘The Dreidel Song” or ‘Feliz Navidad,’ a nice mix of things that keep you in the spirit … secular and liturgical,” Manocha said. “Each of the two editions will have a different playlist, although both will end with a traditional rendition of ‘Deck the Halls.'”
If you happen to miss the virtual premiere dates, the recordings will remain on the Wolf Trap website for your streaming pleasure throughout the entire month of December.
“I hope that people will spend time throughout the holiday season rewatching their favorite songs and carols with their family, maybe in front of their own fires,” Manocha said. “You’ve got your sweater on, you’ve got a cup of cocoa or eggnog or hot toddy. … Put it on the TV, tee up your favorite carols or favorite songs and just sing and sing.”