My Shrewsbury editor Katy Rink and Beth Heath of Shropshire Festivals who are bringing Doorstep carols to the nation again this year on December 15th at 6pm - have you let your street know it's happening yet? It's more fun if you join in! Find out how at doorstepcarols.co.uk
Excitement is building for the national Doorstep Carols event this year – with the ‘epicentre’ event due to take place in Shrewsbury town square on Wednesday, December 15th at 6pm. Choose to sing at home with friends and neighbours on your doorstep, in The Square, or whilst you shop in Shrewsbury's Market Hall, joining in with the live broadcast - it's up to you!
Carols in the Square, organised by Shrewsbury Town Council, is back this year, with one key difference - it will be the headline event in a nationwide charity carols sing-a-long, which originated in Shrewsbury.
BBC Radio Shropshire will host the town centre event as usual, with the carols broadcast live, led by Shrewsbury Male Voice Choir and Shrewsbury Brass Band. This year, Clare Ashford and Adam Green will be hosting the event, taking over from Eric Smith, who retired last year. Carollers are invited to arrive in the square from 5.30pm to join the singing, with the national broadcast due to start at 6pm.
This year, the Doorstep Carols organisers (My Shrewsbury editor Katy Rink and Beth Heath of Shropshire Festivals) have arranged for BBC local radio stations across the country to play the same carols in the same order at the same time, so that people can join in with the singing wherever they are.
Neighbourhoods across Shropshire are set to take part – The Shropshire Way Association is holding its own mini Doorstep Carols event by the sculpture on Kingsland Bridge in Shrewsbury, marking the start of the 200-mile route, and brass quartet the Brass Buttons will be playing along in Mountfields, organised by the Vicar of St George’s Tim Vasby-Burnie. Santa will be making his way around town on a sleigh to wave at the carollers and in Bayston Hill, neighbours are planning hot chocolate stands, firepits and roasting chestnuts!
Plus there’s a ‘Winter Warmer’ linked event in The Market Hall Shrewsbury, when the market’s late night shoppers will be joining in the singalong as they shop, with an appearance from Victorian Carol Singers too and complimentary mulled wine and mince pies, with market purchases.
There are host of linked Doorstep Carols events going on across the UK, including a massed singalong in Trafalgar Square, choirs singing outside Great Ormond Street and The Royal Marsden and Birmingham Children's Hospital, a sing-a-long in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with Ex Cathedra, plus events involving Winchester and Canterbury cathedrals and many more! 125 CareUK care homes are taking part with residents knitting hats and scarves to wear as they sing with the nation.
The backing music for BBC local radio stations has been pre-recorded by Shrewsbury Brass Band and the Doorstep Carols choir, made up of children, parents and teachers at Prestfelde School, in Shrewsbury.
Helen Ball, town clerk for Shrewsbury Town Council, said: “Our Carols in the Square event has become a festive tradition in Shrewsbury which is a great way to start the Christmas celebrations - and this year, it's even more special knowing that people will be singing with us all across the country. It's great that our wonderful town will be in the national spotlight again as the home of Doorstep Carols. Come and sing with us in the square or stay where you are and sing at home, along with your friends and neighbours, by tuning in to BBC Radio Shropshire - you can find the words at www.doorstepcarols.co.uk
“Special thanks go to our sponsors, Veolia, for their continued support in helping us to stage this popular festive event and also to MicroVideo for live streaming the concert for those unable to attend.”
Rev Tom Atfield of Shrewsbury Abbey, which will be encouraging its congregation to join in again this year where they live, said: “The community feedback last year was amazing. Singing brings people together in a really special way and gives people a point of connection. Through Covid, people have found new and creative ways to revitalise community traditions. The tradition of wassailing through the dark days of winter is as old as time. We’ve now found a new way of doing that through technology and good organisation.”
Doorstep Carols was launched in December 2020 by Katy Rink, editor of My Shrewsbury magazine and Beth Heath, Director of Fun at Shropshire Festivals. Working together, they have built this into a national event, with the backing music for the carols played on more than 30 local BBC radio stations for people to sing along to across the country.
Chris Burns, Head of Audio & Digital, BBC England said, “Local BBC radio stations have always been at the heart of Christmas celebrations where we live, and as thousands of people come together for the first time in two years, I am delighted that we will be linking communities together through Doorstep Carols.”