Songs of joy will fill Ashland's downtown Plaza Sunday night as carolers from across the Rogue Valley join in a traditional prelude to Christmas — but don't expect to hear a peep about Santa or his reindeer.
"We only do the Christmas songs that talk about the real reason for Christmas," said Roberta Hayes, an organizer of the gathering. "We don't do Santa Claus or 'Frosty the Snowman,' or anything like that."
The group welcomes everyone to the Plaza from 7 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, to sing traditional carols, including "Good King Wenceslas," "Go Tell It on the Mountain," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Silent Night."
People interested should bring a flashlight to read the songbooks, which will be provided, Hayes said. There also will be free hot chocolate and coffee, she said.
William Hayes, founder of Sons to Glory Men of Thunder Ministries, and Church Without Walls, a nonprofit organization registered through the First Baptist Church of Ashland, has been organizing the caroling group since 2005, he said.
"I like the good old things sometimes. When I was a kid, I used to go caroling in the nursing homes," he said. "It made me feel like I was doing something worth doing."
Hayes said former Pastor Bob Mathers of Alliance Bible Chapel led the group in the past, along with Pastor Mark Anderson of Ashland Christian Fellowship and Pastor Duane Robinson of First Baptist Church of Ashland.
The Hayeses expect at least 50 people from throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California to participate, they said.
"This might be the last year we can do this," said William Hayes, who plans to move to Colorado in May with his wife.
"I'm hoping that someone will pick it up after we're gone "… we're just trying to spread the joy," he said.
Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.