By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Westborough – Westborough’s 300th year ended with another milestone. The Old Colony Drive carolers musically spread holiday cheer on a drizzly Dec. 23 while celebrating their 50th anniversary. Over 25 carolers included five of the original participants: Frank Gallo, Ted Jasiewicz, Dave Hall, Don Hall and Milt Steen.
The idea for the neighborhood buddies to sing seasonal songs together was the brainchild of Frank Gallo in 1968.
“I saw carolers on television and thought it would be fun for us to do,” he relayed. “We made a few phone calls and got a bunch of guys together, then it grew and grew.”
Ted Jasiewicz has continued serving as music director from the first year to the 50th. He also sang Polish carols as a soloist.
“My background in caroling is the Polish church in Frackville, Pennsylvania,” he explained. “Every year, our choir visited all the parish homes and sang Polish carols.”
Jasiewicz appreciates that the impromptu night out with the guys 50 years ago has evolved into a longtime multigenerational tradition.
“It’s a blessing that Frank, Dave, Don, Milt and I are still able to walk around to do this after all these years,” he said. “In recent years, lots of younger guys have joined us. It’s an indication that the Christmas spirit eventually catches all of us.”
Geoff Spofford noted that he enjoys being considered a “younger guy” at age 54. He joined the carolers when his family moved to Old Colony Drive in 1993.
“It was a great way to meet people and get welcomed into the neighborhood,” he said. “There was a smile on every single face.”
Spofford and others are following the lead of the original carolers to continue the tradition. For 48 years, the Gallo home hosted the carolers to rehearse before strolling outside. This was the second year the carolers met at the Spofford home.
“Frank turned 80 last year and felt it was time to pass the tradition,” Spofford noted. “And Ted, at 86, is our neighborhood’s singing version of Tom Brady – he just keeps going and going.”
After the annual 15 minutes of rehearsing, the carolers traveled outside and visited other neighbors’ homes. A day of freezing rain tapered to intermittent drizzle. They’ve faced various weather conditions throughout the five decades.
“We’ve had some years with serious wetness when our Santa hats drooped and jackets weighed an extra 10 pounds,” Spofford recalled. “A couple years ago it was so beautiful that some guys wore shorts.”
Smiles were once again evident this year. Pajama-clad kids of the neighborhood were entertained at the home of caroler Brian Willar and his wife Susan. A return to the Spofford home featured Dutch caroling by his wife Juliana, and holiday tunes by their daughter Helena with other Westborough High School students. The evening concluded with Swedish glogg and cookies served at the Steen home.
Spofford added, “Nothing beats the comradery of being with all your neighbors around the holidays.”
Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.