Caroling from a theater seat

Islanders gather for the annual Christmas singalong.  - Natalie Martin/Staff Photo
Islanders gather for the annual Christmas singalong.
— image credit: Natalie Martin/Staff Photo

Even the biggest Grinch would have had a smile on his face last week at the Vashon Theatre, when around 200 people gathered to celebrate the season in song at the annual holiday singalong. Seated in the darkened theater as though catching the latest flick, islanders young and old instead belted out carol after carol as lyrics flashed across the movie screen. Local pianist Randy Bruce provided the melodies as singers — some skilled, others just confident — sang carols that ran the gamut, from the deeply religious “O Holy Night” to the more merry “Frosty the Snowman” to the classic “White Christmas.” The perennial favorite came when “The Twelve Dogs of Christmas” went up on the screen and audience members, per tradition, stood when their favorite dog breeds were called out.

“It’s one more example of classic Vashon community” said Craig Beles, who led the evening dressed as Santa Claus. “It’s a great group, and it’s truly cross-denominational,” he said. “There are individuals who are not traditional fans of Christmas, but they love going and singing with the community.”

The Vashon Ukulele Society kicked off the event, strumming tunes that conjured up a warmer place, and the saxophone trio of Linnea Cookson, Van Crozier and Karen Eliasen (pictured above) played while the audience rested their own pipes.

The annual singalong had its beginnings nearly 20 years ago, when Gay Jungemann, then the owner of Owen’s Antiques, gathered a group to sing carols at the park-and-ride near Center. The event grew in popularity and moved after just a couple of years to the theater, where owner Eileen Wolcott still offers up the space for free.

“It’s one of those things I love to keep going,” Wolcott said.

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