In the spirit | Music Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

In the spirit 

The six black men stride single file into Christmas parties wearing dark suits, polished black shoes and bright ties. Their entry quiets the mirth and merriment of gathered celebrators, who, year after year, have joined their friends and family in some of the nicest homes in Durham to be moved by the muscular voices of these men: the Durham Carolers. With an almost childlike anticipation, partygoers wait for Ervin Worthy, Andre Montgomery, Tony Alston, Richard Butler, Nathaniel McLaughlin Sr. and his son, Nathaniel McLaughlin Jr. to open their mouths and sing. When their voices fill the air, husbands cradle their wives and couples cozy on the couch. The mood changes. The season changes. And then someone inevitably says, "I don't think we could have Christmas if we hadn't heard them sing."

Since 1935, the Durham Carolers have shared their distinct sound--part a cappella harmony, part gospel--with families in Durham. In the beginning, the group went caroling on Christmas Eve in different neighborhoods across town. Over the years, the performances have moved inside the homes and the members have changed, but the sound--the spirit, really--has not.

Some time around November or December, the Carolers (including elder and honorary member Raymond Davis), gather to practice. They lead separate lives for 10 months, but at the end of the year they work on their harmony, timing and phrasing so that, when they stride into those Christmas parties looking as sharp as ever, they dazzle. They live up to the memories that they've created over the years and create memories anew.

"Rise Up Shepherd." "Go Tell it On the Mountain." "When Was My Jesus Born?" Each song rendered with such grace, power and rhythm that folks can't get enough. But the Durham Carolers have other homes to visit. They leave one party to enliven the next. Lucky for all, their spirit remains.

To hear the Durham Carolers visit the Music & More page on Scan, our music blog at www.indyweekblogs.com/scan/music-more.

More by Mosi Secret

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music Feature



Twitter Activity

Comments

I've found that beach music never creates itself. Music eventually finds its way into the "beach music sound." Some of …

by vocalocal on Beach Music Isn't Just Easy Listening—It's a Sunny Slice of Carolina History (Music Feature)

No need to wait for a weekend, special event, or limited "Temporary" Beach music offering on other music services. Listen …

by Quentin Reed on Beach Music Isn't Just Easy Listening—It's a Sunny Slice of Carolina History (Music Feature)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

I've found that beach music never creates itself. Music eventually finds its way into the "beach music sound." Some of …

by vocalocal on Beach Music Isn't Just Easy Listening—It's a Sunny Slice of Carolina History (Music Feature)

No need to wait for a weekend, special event, or limited "Temporary" Beach music offering on other music services. Listen …

by Quentin Reed on Beach Music Isn't Just Easy Listening—It's a Sunny Slice of Carolina History (Music Feature)

That is like going to a concert of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, except without any of the musical talent.

by MichyMitch on The Total Package Tour Promises a Heavy Dose of Eighties Nostalgia. But Does the Lineup Even Make Sense? (Music Feature)

This is a wonderful tribute to David. David was in my class at Duke and was one of my best …

by John Scott 1 on A Requiem for David McKnight: Prodigy, Journalist, Politician, Homeless Street Musician (Music Feature)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation