The Jewish Christmas Choir

                     Jewish Kids Chorus Sing Christmas Carols At Department Store in 1963

            For some people Christmas is a holiday, gifts and a tree. For me Christmas will always be associated with Marshall Fields, the iconic department store in Chicago.

I have been in the store many times before but it never meant much to me until my junior year in high school.

My high school Symphonic Choir pianist decided that it would be great to entertain at Marshall Fields. We met at the entrance to Fields under the famed clock on State and Randolph. We warmed up and then went into the store.

The shoppers were very surprised as we began to sing as we walked up and down each aisle and every floor. What a wonderful time we were having! The words of the songs were so beautiful and made me feel an inner glow that I never had before. Old women were crying, and mothers were smiling. Out “glow” seemed to reach out from us and penetrate into expressions of those we saw.

The walls of the store seemed to bend with delight. Before they stood solid and hardened to the commercial aspects of the holiday season. The people in the store were now hearing a different and better way to observe this joyous holiday. It was not only the building that bent but the singers felt different. They were bending in a new direction that they had never understood before. The words of these songs were not part of their unusual repertoire but soon became part of their soul.

Before this event these young singers knew very little about Christmas. They lived in a different world and had never had the occasion to mix with others. Now they were having that chance. For myself and the other singers this was a unique experience and one that can’t be forgotten. The thought of making people happy through song  enriched my life.

Later, I realized that there is nothing that unusual about forty Jewish boys and girls singing their hearts out for their pleasure and those around them. Actually, that’s what Jewish people have been doing for centuries.

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