December 23 proved to be a night when Rudolph’s red nose would have been helpful as people made their way through the foggy night going over the river, through the woods, and around the cranberry bog before finally arriving at the quaint ye olde Tinkhamtown Chapel to sing Christmas carols.
But the weather didn’t stop all ye faithful from coming.
The young, the old, people in-between and even entire families made their way to the chapel to share a moment away from the commercial side of the holiday season to participate in the simple joy of raising one’s voice in song to celebrate Christmas.
All the traditional favorites were sung to the accompaniment of an antique pipe organ played by Gail Roberts and violin by Louise Anthony. Roberts said that her grandmother, Minny Tinkham, had taught her how to play the organ when she was a high school student.
“So I guess the organ must be at least sixty years old.” Roberts pointed out that this style of organ including handles attached on either side, “So it could be carried through the jungles by missionaries.”
While Roberts and Anthony prepared for the community event, people began drifting in by ones and twos then by large family groups until every space on the wooden benches was filled.
Announcers Hannah and Calder Easton, 11-year old twins who are also fifth-graders at Old Hammondtown School, expertly ushered the congregation through the songbooks that had been provided.
After the crowd had warmed up singing such all time favorites as “Joy To The World,” “The First Noel,” and “Angels We Have Heard On High,” Roberts gathered 12 young volunteers onto the tiny stage to sing “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” with each child holding up a picture representing specific lines in the song such as the ever popular “…Five golden rings…”
A smaller group of children sang a song wishing Jesus a Happy Birthday.
As the event drew to a close and people wished each other a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” many commented how wonderful it was to be able to attend the gathering and to have a building such as the chapel to remind us that simple joys are still the best.
The Tinkhamtown Chapel was built in 1889 and has been in nearly continuous use since opening its doors 128 years ago.
By Marilou Newell