Tracey Tong/metro ottawa
Amidst harried shoppers searching for the perfect present, their voices ring out loud and clear, embodying something close to the true meaning of Christmas.
Hundreds of shoppers and passersby will be treated to the spirit of the season as local carollers perform at the corner of the ByWard Market and George Street on weekends.
The carollers bring back fond memories for Bill Abbott.
“I remember singing carols and really enjoying it,” said Abbott, who stumbled across Ottawa’s Tone Cluster choir recently with his wife, Amy Bell and son, Sam, 3.
“I find music to be a big part of Christmas, whether it’s on the radio, or we’re singing it, or in a church,” he said. “It’s one of the best parts of the market — the music and being outdoors.”
“It isn’t commercial,” added Steve Fouchard. “It’s the real spirit.”
It’s not just shoppers that benefit from the music, said Roger Butt, a tenor in the choir. The choir members benefit, too, he said, since singing outside has a special feel.
“It evokes the spirit of yesteryear and creates a different feeling than a shopping mall does.”
Tone Cluster performed traditional songs because everyone recognizes them, said choir director Jane Perry.
“Regardless of religion — or perhaps even if they’re not religious at all — there’s something about carols that get a lot of people,” said Perry. “When people recognize the carols, they stop and take the time to listen. It generates that elusive Christmas spirit.”