While the Capital Region has been digging out from a major storm, singers in St. Paul’s Victorian Streetwalk Choir have been singing through the snow.
“The planning starts in August. . . . We rehearse from October through November to prepare for the event,” Marianne Wiegand, the founder of the choir.
The group’s 35 members have spent quite a few hours rehearsing for Saratoga’s Victorian Streetwalk, which kicks off tonight at 6 p.m. They’ll be dressed in Victorian garb, including bonnets and waistcoats, for their performances on the steps of the Saratoga Arms. They’ll also hand out cups of hot cocoa while they carol from 6-7:30 p.m.
“I just felt like it was an opportunity for our church to give back to our community. It’s one of those experiences where we can give back and show the true gift that our savior is, right out on the street corner,” Wiegand said.
She founded the choir back in 2005 after attending the Streetwalk and noticing an absence of Dickensian carolers. Recruiting singers at St. Paul's Lutheran Chuch in Saratoga Springs has never been a problem, and over the years people have come from as far away as Delmar and Scotia to join the choir, and sing during the Victorian Streetwalk as well as a few other events in which the group performs during the weeks leading up to the holiday event.
Now in its 33rd year, the Streetwalk typically draws 15,000 people to downtown Saratoga Springs for an evening of entertainment and shopping. Since she first began attending more than 15 years ago, Wiegand has noticed a cultural change.
“More and more people are dressing in period costume and just creating that Dickens feel that we were hoping for way back when. It’s become a much more Victorian event. It’s really nice,” Wiegand said.
The Racing City Chorus has also been a Streetwalk staple for well over a decade.
“We love doing it. It’s great fun. It’s a great venue. The audiences just seems to love it. So they have fun and we have fun,” said Steve Dyer, president of the Chorus.
Racing City will perform three sets at Adirondack Trust Company at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., with a set list to include familiar carols such as “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “O Come All Ye Faithful,” as well as some not-so-familiar songs.
Before Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly lights the trees at 6 p.m., The Remnants, a quartet made up of Racing City Chorus members, will perform and encourage kids to join in, singing a few familiar carols.
Following the tree lighting there will be a Santa Parade, starting from the City Center and heading down Broadway, featuring the Avant Garde Alumni Drumline and Color Guard. Santa, along with his elves and other holiday characters, will be at Santa Cottage at the center of Broadway.
Throughout the evening there will be performances at more than 40 sites along Broadway and beyond, including by the Salvation Army Brass Band, Spa City Duo, Saratoga City Ballet, Saratoga Soundtrack Chorus and others.
Saratoga County 4-H gingerbread houses will be on display at several locations around the city, and there will be a living nativity scene.
CDTA will run free shuttle buses every 20 minutes from the Empire State College parking lot (111 West Ave.); NYRA’s Oklahoma track, Gate 21 on the corner of East Avenue and Union Avenue; the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame (99 S. Broadway); and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center parking lot on Route 50. The shuttles will run to and from downtown between 4:30 and 9 p.m.
Broadway will close from 5-9 p.m. from the Route 50 arterial to the Spring Street intersection.
WHEN: 6-9 p.m. tonight
WHERE: Broadway, Saratoga Springs
MORE INFO: saratogaspringsdowntown.com
NOTE: Pets are not allowed due to the size of the event