Carolers warm visitors with Christmas songs

Addison Adams, 13, snuggled near her mother as she sang “Deck the Hall” led by Larry Schexnaydre and the Center Stage Performing Arts Academy Stars Company singers.

Addison and her mother, Natalie Adams, haven’t missed the Ascension Parish Library’s Carols in the Courtyard program “except for the year she was sick,” Natalie said.

“She just loves to sing and we wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Natalie said. “I just wish I would have dressed for the weather.”

The chilly temperatures Dec. 11 didn’t stop more than 40 people from singing 21 Christmas carols for more than an hour in the outdoor courtyard at the library’s Gonzales branch.

Singers used a library-produced program with the words of popular Christmas songs from “Deck the Hall” to “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

Schexnaydre, owner of Center Stage, said singing “warms the heart” and is a great way to bring families together.

He was joined by his daughter, Emily, who was home from college.

As one of nine children, Schexnaydre said “being together as a whole family was always special growing up ... and a rare moment to share.”

Schexnaydre shared stories about his days in high school musicals and as a member of the Jambalaya Singers. Schexnaydre said several years ago he and others would go around the community and sing Christmas carols the week after Christmas “which is the real Christmas season, but lots of people don’t know that.”

At one stop, after singing three songs, Schexnaydre said. “This guy came up and says ‘you know Christmas is over.’”

Schexnayder encouraged audience participation by bringing several in the audience up to the stage area to sing with his group.

Tucker Bourgeois, 5, helped Schexnaydre sing “Do You Hear What I Hear.” Tucker also joined Emily for a skip as other sang “Frosty the Snowman.”

Schexnaydre ended the program by teaching everyone how to use sign language to recite “We Wish you a Merry Christmas.”

After the program, everyone warmed up with hot chocolate and cookies inside the library.

“This is just the best way to celebrate Christmas,” Natalie said. “We’re so glad the library does this every year.”