While strolling through Westport's Compo Beach area in the cold Wednesday evening, more than 500 carolers set a Guinness World Record for being the largest group of singers caroling door-to-door.
In addition to setting a world record, the group of singers raised roughly $4,500 for the Lily Sarah Grace Fund, a non-profit group that supports the arts in underfunded elementary schools across America. during a Christmas day house fire in Stamford last year.
“When you look at all the things this event is doing, it puts a smile on your face for sure,” said Jim Keenan, event organizer.
Keenan said the Lily Sarah Grace Fund seemed like the perfect fit because caroling, singing and dancing ties in directly with the arts.
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“It happened here in Fairfield County -- in our own back yard. It’s a nice thing to do, and it’s that time of year,” he said, adding that the anniversary of the tragedy is just two weeks away.
“One Voice,” the name of the event, sold out at 600 carolers. Nearly 600 carolers were turned down after tickets, which were $10 for adults and $5 for children, were sold out, Keenan said. Carolers sang two-song sets in front of fourteen different houses.
“The real thing we are trying to avoid are walk-ups”, he said prior to the event, adding that there was a five-minute time constraint to get the entire group from one location to the next.
"One Voice" also raised the holiday spirit in the Compo Beach area, which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, according to Keenan.
“They are so thrilled to be apart of this,” Keenan said. “This is really the feel-good event of the holiday season.”
Guinness World Records Adjudicators Danny Girton and John Corcoran were in attendance verifying the record. Guinness seeks out records that are measurable, breakable, entertaining, verifiable and of international interest, according to Girton.
“This is a heartwarming story that needs to be told,” Girton said. “That is what we have been doing for nearly 60 years."
Girton and Corcoran certified that 502 carolers took part in "One Voice."
In order to establish the record there had to be 250 carolers and a professional music director. Erik Paul, Weston High School Music Director, directed the group and kept more than 500 carolers in unison while they sang songs like Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.