WESTFIELD – The holiday season just got a little cheerier in Westfield. The Very Merry Dickens Carolers, a Rhode Island based group, announced it would be expanding to the Whip City.
The group, a four-part a capella harmony that dresses in Victorian caroling clothes, is in its 11th season. The company sends groups of singers to events to perform throughout the holiday season.
When longtime member Patrick Nay moved to Western Massachusetts, the Very Merry Dickens Carolers saw a chance to expand.
Louise Tetreault, who owns the company, said in the past, there have been requests for the group in Western Massachusetts. This provided a perfect opportunity, she said.
“There aren’t a lot of groups that do what we do. Typically, my group has serviced everywhere from Maine to New York. We’ll travel based on a person’s budget and ability,” she said. “Last year, we did get quite a few groups that said ‘We found you and we’d love for you to come and sing.’ For me to send someone out there, there is a performance fee and a travel fee. Sometimes the travel fee is prohibitive. Now with a group in the area, that won’t be an issue. We become more accessible.”
Tetreault said the Westfield chapter has already started taking auditions for members. They are looking for around 10 to 12 performers, she said. While there are certain qualifications for being accepted into the Very Merry Dickens Carolers, Tetreault considers one above the rest.
“They have to want to have fun because this isn’t worth doing if it’s not fun. People are inviting us into their homes and businesses at a very special time of the year,” she said. “What an honor it is to be invited into someone’s home for a holiday, and we want to make it as wonderful for them as it feels for us. You kind have to like Christmas to do this well.”
The Westfield chapter of the Very Merry Dickens Carolers will give a new audience a chance to experience the holiday cheer, she said.
“It harkens back to peoples own memories and traditions and people love to sing along with us,” Tetreault said. “We go to libraries and people sing with us, they love to sing, even in nursery homes … I’m so excited because it allows to reach more people and share that gift.”
Those looking to audition should schedule an appointment with Nay by calling 774-288-9887. Rehearsals take place on Thursdays beginning Sept. 11. For more information about the Very Merry Dickens Carolers, visit www.merrydickens.com.