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Corona Carolers come in from the cold

For a little more than two years, Jacque Wedel and a group of fellow singers dubbed the “Corona Carolers” have been performing outside the windows of Newton Presbyterian Manor residents and in other outdoor spaces around the community. Recently, thanks to loosening COVID-19 safety restrictions, the group was finally able to bring its act indoors.

Jacque, who was a regular face around the community prior to the pandemic, helped organize the group as a way to give residents a connection to the outside world and break the monotony that came from “sheltering in place.”

“Everyone was quarantined to their rooms and couldn’t open their windows and were in desperate need of talking to somebody,” said Jacque. “We would sing a couple of songs at each window and love on them as much as we could.”

Whether it was from behind a pane of glass or at a distance on the community’s patio, the effect Jacque and her fellow Corona Carolers were having on the morale of the Manor’s residents was without question.

“Their faces would just light up because they didn’t get to see a lot of people. When we were doing it underneath the patio, they would just beam and sing along with us,” said Jacque.

Even when the carolers had to take their performances online and were unable to be in close proximity with residents, Jacque believed the group was still able to make an impact.

“When we went to Zoom it got more difficult, we had to mute them so we didn’t get to interact as much, but you could still tell it brings them incredible joy,” said Jacque.

Thankfully, as a result of declining local COVID-19 numbers, the Corona Carolers held their first indoor performance in late March much to the delight of many in the community.

“It’s lovely to have them here,” said resident Clara Koehn. “They do a beautiful job, but it’s much nicer in person!”

Fellow resident Delila Wedel agrees and says that the group’s ability to include additional musicians is an added benefit.

“Having them here, in person, is a lot better—especially with the piano accompanying,” said Delila.

For Jacque, the best part about finally being able to perform inside was that it offered her the chance to come together with others and be a part of something bigger than herself.

“The thing I enjoy most is worshiping together,” said Jacque. “We’re not just standing up there singing hymns. This is a throwback to old school worship where we have sopranos and altos and tenors and basses. It’s raising our voices as one and the parts are so beautiful. It blesses my heart.”

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