BY RAEGAN NEUFELD
Dr. Terry Crull has been at Fort Hays for 17 years. He has an obvious love for music, as he directs four choral ensembles and teaches music appreciation and choral method courses.
Around 2010, Crull extended his love for music to volunteers during the holidays. This was when he created the group called the Dickens Carolers. The group is named after the writer Charles Dickens, who wrote A Christmas Carol, and many other classics. Crull also stated that his original inspiration for the group came from “merry old England carolers,” with traditional top hats, scarves, and part books.
“Originally I thought that we would all be in costume and have a select group that does it every year. That didn’t pan out as well as just asking for anyone who loves to sing carols,” Crull explained. “We never practice. We just come and sing Christmas carols. I hand out the books and we dress in red and green and Santa hats.”
The Dickens Carolers is strictly a volunteer group. Members are typically students, faculty, members of community ensembles, and anyone else who wishes to join. Crull mentioned that some volunteers might not have any other singing experience, but they just love to sing Christmas songs.
“The requests come pouring in once Halloween passes for carolers, for various activities,” Crull said. “We always for sure start off with the tree lighting ceremony that we have here at Fort Hays, but we also go to nursing homes, banquets, and other community events.”
Other performances for the Dickens Carolers have included the Plymouth School House open house and the faculty Christmas party.
As recruitment, Crull will send out a message to faculty and staff on campus. This year, 16 messaged him back wanting to be put on the list. Whenever there is a need for carolers, Crull will round up as many volunteers as he needs for the performance and they sing.
People come to the group for the enjoyment of carols, but their involvement also brings something special to others.
“A lot of people who don’t have time for a weekly, regular rehearsal, but have sung all their lives will respond and join us. It’s just fun,” Crull said. “We do ‘Deck the Halls,’ and ‘Jingle Bells,’ but we also do ‘Away In a Manger,’ and ‘Silent Night.’ Especially when we go to nursing homes, people like to sing along. They know those carols from when they were in church or when they were able to attend regularly, so that brings joy to people.”
Anyone who wishes to join the Dickens Carolers can contact Dr. Crull via email.