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Record-breaking Holidays with the Boston Pops

On a crisp, cool morning in December of 2010, a group of festive Bostonians gathered outside the Prudential Plaza along Boylston St. singing tunes and spreading cheer. It was your average holiday caroling group, right? Well, almost—in this case the “group” was comprised of several thousand and was lead by Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops as they tried to set the Guinness World Record for the most carolers in the same place at the same time.

As a member of this huge gathering myself, I can say that it was certainly a sight to behold. I stepped through the makeshift entrance gate to a welcoming crowd offering hot cocoa and a daunting song sheet. The morning progressed with an animated Lockhart attempting to “conduct” the often tone-deaf carolers. It didn’t matter, everyone was singing loud and having fun. After about a half hour of chatting and belting out a dozen holiday classics, the crowd dispersed, having fallen amply short of the current record of 9,100 carolers (set in Australia during their Credit Union Chrismas Pageant that same year).

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Keith Lockhart, the Pops and the BSO organization are at it again this year. For the 2nd attempt, they’ve relocated to a much more accommodating space—the Christian Science Center Plaza. This is a fitting location, as it is famous for beckoning many visitors during warmer months to admire the reflection pool or run through the public fountains. However, on Saturday December 3rd, the plaza will turn into a true winter common when the clock strikes 12:00 (PM, that is). With one attempt under its belt, I’d like to think that this year the Pops will have the technique down.

Immediately following the caroling, the schedule continues inside the bustle and warmth of The Shops at Prudential Center where you’ll find indoor events like Beantown Swing, the Beacon Brass Quintet and even a CD signing with Lockhart himself. All of the events are free, and this marks the beginning of a special set of holiday shows for the Pops.

Be sure to stop by any time during the day to take part in the fun, but try and make it out for the caroling attempt; after all, the more people there, the better the attempt! I can say first hand that record or no record, everyone is sure to have a great time, catch some holiday spirit and make some great friends.

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