Letter: ‘Thank You’ from God’s Acre Christmas Caroling Committee

While the carols and the Christmas Eve gathering remained the same, this year marked a changing of the guard in terms of leadership for the annual God’s Acre Christmas Caroling. 

A century ago, when John E. Hersam, then publisher of the New Canaan Advertiser, along with other members of the Town Band, invited friends and neighbors to God’s Acre for Christmas Eve Caroling, he likely had no idea he was helping to launch one of the quintessential New Canaan traditions. Thus, at the start of this year’s Carol Singing, it was fitting that V. Donald Hersam, and the entire Hersam family, was publicly thanked for their 100 year stewardship of this wonderful community event. 

With the sale of the Advertiser to Hearst last fall, the Hersams have transitioned stewardship of this annual event to a new God’s Acre Christmas Caroling Committee. We are each honored to help carry on this amazing tradition. 

Even though this is a free event open to all, there are annual costs associated with hosting it. This year we want to thank Tim Brown, from Brown Thayer Shedd Insurance, for stepping forward to underwrite construction of the bandstand and Rand Insurance for underwriting the cost of the song sheets provided that evening. We thank each individual and local family who sent in donations to help defray the costs.

Group Works To Continue Christmas Eve Caroling at God’s Acre

A group of local volunteers have formed a new entity to ensure that a beloved New Canaan tradition, long supported by some of the town’s most generous individuals and families, continues in perpetuity. Though it may appear to spring up spontaneously from the patch of ground on which New Canaan was founded, the cherished Christmas Eve caroling at God’s Acre is in fact the result of multiple coordinated steps and support from families such as the Hersams and Karls, and residents such as Steve Benko, officials say. With the sale in October of Hersam Acorn Newspapers Inc. to Hearst, the multiple “moving parts” overseen for decades by the former New Canaan Advertiser publishers—getting lights on the tree, printing 2,000 songsheets, setting up barricades and the bandstand and making arrangements for the New Canaan Town Band as well as coordinating with groups such as the Congregational Church of New Canaan, New Canaan Police Department and Department of Public Works—all must fall to new people. Enter Benko, Tucker Murphy, Tom Stadler, Steve Karl, Leo Karl III and Scott Gress. Following multiple multi-hour meetings in recent days, they formed the God’s Acre Caroling Foundation, established to collect donations and ensure that the century-old traditional can continue (see mailing info below).

Town Officials Call for Less Conspicuous Garbage Dumpsters in Parks

Town officials said last week that they’re addressing an aesthetic problem whereby those entering local parks in some cases are accosted by the sight of garbage dumpsters. 

The town many years ago switched from trash cans dotted around fields at parks such as Waveny and Mead, to having dumpsters, according to Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Sally Campbell. That effort was “very critical to reducing the amount of trash on the fields and in our parks,” she said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Oct. 10 at Lapham Community Center. 

“However, we find that every park we drive into we are verbally assaulted by City Carting on the dumpsters,” she said. The answer, according to Commissioner Hank Green, who has looked at how nearby towns handle their dumpsters, will involve putting up three-sided fencing around them. “It should be a pretty easy fix,” Green said.