Caroling Caravan: New verse to an old song

Type of post: Chorus news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: John Braden
Status: Current
Date Posted: Wed, Dec 20 2023
Nearly two dozen singers representing the Heart of America Chorus transformed into the Boys on the Bus for HOA's annual Caroling Caravan, Dec. 16, 2023, bringing holiday cheer to residents of a half-dozen retirement centers while raising funds for a good cause.

This year that old song had a new verse. After decades of collecting donations for the Salvation Army, the chorus passed the hat for the first time for the Fox4 Love Fund for Children. HOA President Mike Schumacher told audiences the chorus changed its primary beneficiary organization this year but would continue to welcome and deliver any contributions made to the Salvation Army as well.

New Caravan organizers Ted Simon and Tony O'Brien were joined at a couple of stops by Love Fund Executive Director Dionne Pleasant to explain about the Love Fund's mission. Initiated by former WDAF-TV 4 anchor Cynthia Smith, the Fox4 Love Fund is dedicated to fulfilling unmet needs of children in the Kansas City area. The non-profit organization helps provide therapeutic tools, medical equipment, eye exams, clothing, shoes, bedding and other needed items.

KC Common quartet provided some variety to the proceedings inserting a couple of numbers between chorus songs. Additionally, John Braden took a turn as soloist with the chorus on gospel number "Amen."

Also returning with the singers was Director Carter Combs' sister, Carla Weisz, as Jingles the Elf, who Carter said preferred to be referred to as a "Subordinate Claus."

Stops on the 10 a.m.-4 p.m. route included Meadowbrook Retirement and Claridge Court in Prairie Village; The Forum, Tallgrass Creek and Brookdale in Overland Park; and Silvercrest College View in Lenexa.

Thanks to Mike and Linda Schumacher for organizing sack lunch makers and to Gordon and Marilou Coleman for paying for the school bus.