The Narrow River Singers, a popular local women's vocal group, packed into on Village Lane in Orient on a rainy afternoon this past Sunday for their annual Christmas Winter Sing Along.
The program included traditional holiday selections such as "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," and "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas." "The Hannukkah Song" and "Henei Ma Tov" were also performed as part of the sing along round that ended with "Shalom Chaverim."
The wet weather did not dampen anyone's Christmas spirit, although chorale director Margaret Cowden said she had her doubts for a while during the afternoon's pre-concert rehearsal.
"The rain may keep them away," Cowden said as she addressed the singers during a break as the rain kept pouring. "So I don't want anyone to feel bad. We will just sing for ourselves and enjoy ourselves if no one comes."
Then miraculously at five minutes before the start of the concert scheduled for 3p.m. a handful of early arrivals scattered about the room, occupying a half a dozen seats and were soon joined by friends and neighbors. They helped themselves to hot cider and cookies and began to take their seats.
The audience was invited to sing along on some of the selections including an off-beat version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" that had the crowd doubled over laughing.
The unusual version of the song called for sound effects instead of words.
"It is hard to find turtle doves anymore, milking maids are hard to get too," the Narrow River Singers explained, "so we are using sound effects in their place."
The audience jumped in ringing bells and whistles, laughing all the way.
The highlight of the show was a tap dance performance by Lynn Cataldo, a member of the Narrow River Singers who took off her singing costume and went backstage to put on her tap dancing shoes. The curtain went up and she hit it, as they say in the theater. Cataldo got whistles, curtain calls for an encore, and a standing ovation.
Lea Kendall accompanied the Narrow River Singers on the piano. She graciously stood up from behind the piano where she was hidden from view for most of the concert and took a bow at the end.
It stopped raining sometime during the sing along, but no one noticed.
The Narrow River Singers have been performing since 1998, when the group got together.
"We did our first full performance in the spring of 1999," Cowden said.
Nancy Picone came over from Southampton, undeterred by the stormy weather to participate in the sing along. Picone attended last year's event too. This year she tapped her feet to the music the entire afternoon.
"I love sing alongs and there are so few of them," Picone said. "It was worth the drive."