WESTPORT, Conn. — A group of more than 500 people sang Westport’s way into the Guinness Book of World Records on Wednesday night, setting a new world record for the most people caroling door to door.
A total of 502 people officially participated in the “One Voice” caroling event organized by the Unitarian Church of Westport. Although the group started out with 545 carolers, only those who participated from start to finish were counted by Guinness.
In addition to setting a record, the event was a fundraiser for the Lily Sarah Grace Fund, a nonprofit that supports arts programs in underfunded elementary schools. The fund was created in memory of Lily, Sarah and Grace Badger, the three sisters who died in last year’s Christmas Day house fire in Stamford.
With flashlights and lyrics in hand, the festively dressed carolers — conducted by Weston music teacher Erik Paul — traveled throughout the Compo Beach area, singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Deck the Halls,” Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer,” Let it Snow” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” The group visited 14 homes, where they sang two songs each.
Two adjudicators from the Guinness World Records were on hand to certify the record. According to John Corcoran, one of the Guinness officials, various requirements needed to be met to set the record.
For example, the group needed to sing at a minimum of 10 homes; had only five minutes to get to the next house as soon as they finished at one house; couldn’t sing the same song at two consecutive houses; and could visit a maximum of five houses per block. Because it was a new record, a minimum of 250 participants was needed.
“There are a lot of guidelines, but most importantly, we want people to have fun,” said Corcoran. “This is something these people won’t forget, especially the kids here. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime.”
Once the caroling ended, Guinness adjudicator Danny Girton Jr. validated the numbers. When it was official, he presented Jim Keenan, the event's lead organizer, with a certificate.
This is the second record set in Westport this year. Staples High School put Westport in the record book this spring for having the most sets of twins in one academic class. It shares the record with two other schools.