Men’s Christmas Caroling Coalition brings notes of holiday cheer to Steamboat Springs
December 19, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — According to Buddy The Elf, the best way to spread Christmas cheer "is singing loud for all to hear."
And the Men’s Christmas Caroling Coalition in Steamboat Springs does just that.
"Let's say you had an ailing grandma in town who needed her holidays brightened," said Chad James, a Steamboat resident who helped create the group last year. "We go to people who are in need of a little bit of love and holiday cheer."
If you go
What: Men’s Christmas Caroling Coalition
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22
Where: McKnight's Irish Pub, 685 Marketplace Plaza, Unit C1
What to bring:
• Flashlight or headlamp
• A good attitude
• Warm clothes
• Snow boots, encouraged
• Flask, optional
The male-only group sings by request or referral only. They visit homes and typically sing two or three Christmas songs for the elderly, the homebound, the ill or a family that has endured a hardship.
This year, the group will gather at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at McKnight’s Irish Pub to loosen up the vocal cords before heading out on a shuttle by 6:30 p.m.
"You don't have to be a singer. That's why we go to the bar first — to lubricate the spirit and the soul," James said.
All that's needed is a good attitude and a willingness to make someone's night a little brighter.
"It's really just a bunch of guys who want to give back, spread some holiday cheer and who are not exactly trained and a practicing choir group," said Wade Rimiker, who helped start the group last year with James.
Moving to Steamboat Springs from Wisconsin in 2012, Rimiker brought with him the idea for the group after being part of a service organization there that caroled for nursing homes and private homes.
"When we first started talking about the idea, I don't think people quite understood how fun and rewarding it would be," Rimiker said.
Last year, the group attracted 25 men of varying ages.
"The thing that surprised me last year was the number of guys who just randomly showed up," James said. "We had realtors, doctors, college students — every walk of life joined us. Even the guys who said they didn't want to sing end up singing by the end of it."
The group sings classics like “White Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” — all of which are found in the songbooks printed out for each participant.
"I sang in a men's choir in college, but I wasn't the type of guy to be dragged along caroling," James said. "But there's something about standing shoulder to shoulder helping someone else and doing something together, particularly something of service like this.
“There's a bond that becomes present," James continued. "When they see each other on the street now, it's not a handshake, it's a hug."