Faces of Kansas City: Old-fashioned caroling lifts spirits - KCTV5

Faces of Kansas City: Old-fashioned caroling lifts spirits

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS (KCTV) -

Old-fashioned caroling lifts the spirits of singers and those they serenade.

The caroling started with an idea from a woman 38 years ago.

Linda Ray has been a fixture in the Shawnee Mission School District since the early 1970s. Her passion is teaching blind students.

Nearly 40 years ago, she was peppered with questions about her students' needs. She was asked at Christmas what could be done "for the poor blind kinds."

She was thunderstruck.

"The poor blind kids don't need a thing. I said, 'the blind kids need a chance to do something for somebody else,'" she said.

So she threw open the doors to her Prairie Village home to her students and a few musicians.  Young and old began to convey together and enjoy each other's company and food as they practiced Christmas carols and holiday songs.

"It's the best part of Christmas without a doubt," Ray said.

The group's age ranges in 2012 from 5 years old to 85 years old. In addition to Christmas carols, the group sings Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and winter solstice songs.

This is Ashlee Thao's second year of singing with the group.

"Singing is one of my passions," she said.

And singing for others, such as residents of assisted living centers, is a true gift.

"It gives me this warm feeling inside that says I'm doing good," she said.

Ray hopes the tradition continues for many more years.

"I don't know how much longer we can do it, because it's a lot of work but we really want to keep doing it if we can," Ray said.

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