Dozens turn out for Carols and Cocoa gathering

  • Impromptu Hand Bell choir, left to right — Cathy and Diane Foste,r Bonnie Benjamin, Al Benjamin, Mary Mallet, Joanne King, Susan Bowdridge and Doc Arsenault. —Christine Miranda

  • Co-presidents of the Athol Woman’s Club Denise Laffond and Mary Mallet along with 2½-year-old Cadence Willhite prepare hot chocolate and cookies for the carolers Saturday night at the Athol Congregational Church.  Christine Miranda

  • —Christine Miranda

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 11/27/2018 10:00:13 PM
Modified: 11/27/2018 10:00:32 PM

ATHOL — Carols and Cocoa were enjoyed by approximately 40 hearty souls who congregated at the uptown common on Saturday night to bring in the Christmas spirit by singing carols, under the direction of Al and Bonnie Benjamin. Every year the Athol Women’s Club sponsors a Memory Tree where people can donate to light up a huge Christmas tree located in the gazebo at the uptown common in memory of someone who has passed away.  

The Benjamins, who have a small tree farm, donated the tree, and Kevin Materas of Castle Tree Service brought his equipment and crew to help set it up. This year members of the Women’s Club helped with the lights and MacMannis Florist decorated the gazebo. This has become a traditional community affair thanks to the Benjamins, who have been doing this for over 30 years.

The group sang several rounds of traditional Christmas Songs, sometimes spontaneously continuing into a second verse. Buddy Oborne treated the crowd to a latin rendition and after singing “Jingle Bells,” the crowd moved inside the Athol Congregational Church Fellowship Hall for hot chocolate, cookies and more singing, this time using musical hand bells. Al Benjamin gave instruction on how the hand bells work, and he was joined by Diane and Cathy Foster, Mary Mallet, Joanne King, Susan Bowdridge and Doc Arsenault as the bells were rung and songs were sung by all in attendance. Everyone enjoyed the good cheer present and the community of Athol thanks the Benjamins for a job well done.

Donations to the Memory Tree may be sent to Athol Women’s Club P.O. Box 194, Athol, MA 01331.

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