Christmas Eve caroling in Gramercy Park

GPBA President Arlene Harrison and trustee Rev. Tom Pike (center) with officers from the 13th precinct. (Photos by Ira Fox)

Nearly 2,000 people crowded into Gramercy Park for the annual Christmas Caroling sponsored by the Park Trustees and organized once again by the Gramercy Park Block Association. The caroling was led by GPBA president Arlene Harrison and trustee Rev. Tom Pike, with music led by Calvary church music director Kamel Boutros.

“This year, mostly due to media attention, the event was attended by nearly 2,000 people from around the world who were visiting New York for the holidays,” Harrison said.

Harrison thanked the officers of the 13th precinct for policing the event saying, “Thanks to their outstanding police presence, in particular Chief Hughes, Chief Comodo the 13th Precinct and the Neighborhood Coordination Officers the Rodriguez brothers, our caroling event was the best and safest ever.”

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Caroling at Stuyvesant Square Park

Carolers in Stuyvesant Square Park (Photos by Irina Island Images)

On Christmas Eve, an evening of caroling was hosted by the Stuyvesant Park Neighborhood Association. Reverend Ben DeHart from Calvary-St. George’s said a few words about Rosalee Isaly, SPNA’s longtime president who died in July from cancer. Isaly had begun the tradition if caroling at Stuyvesant Square Park, where on Tuesday, at least 100 people were in attendance. Music was provided by Alex Nguyen and Friends who are behind him. Hot chocolate was donated by Veselka.

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Caroling at Gramercy Park

Carolers in Gramercy Park (Photos by Ira Fox Photography)

On Christmas Eve, the trustees of Gramercy Park and the Gramercy Park Block Association hosted an evening of caroling, an annual tradition that draws thousands from around the city to the normally private park. The event was hosted by Arlene Harrison, president of the GPBA; Calvary Rector Rev. Jacob Smith and Rector Emeritus Rev. Dr. Thomas Pike. Caroling was led Kamel Boutros, music director at Calvary-St. George’s, with music by Alex Nguyen and Friends.

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Calvary’s candlelight concert will feature Arabic music as well as caroling and jazz

Last year’s service and concert (Photo courtesy of Calvary/St. George’s)

Last year’s service and concert (Photo courtesy of Calvary/St. George’s)

By Sabina Mollot

On Sunday, December 6, Calvary-St. George’s Church will continue one of the oldest church traditions in the country with its 127th annual holiday candlelight service and concert.

The event, which will feature a broad mix of traditional and contemporary music in different styles as well as Christmas caroling, will also for the first time, include some Arabic music with Arabic instruments. This was planned by the parish’s music director, Egyptian-born Kamel Boutros, in a sign of peace between different cultures following the recent terrorist attacks.

Joshua Encinias, an executive assistant at the Episcopal parish, said the concert each year is a mix of old and new in its musical program. The candlelight is an old Anglican tradition from the United Kingdom, he explained, with Calvary’s candlelight caroling event being the first known concert of that type in the United States.

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