One of the most in-demand items this holiday season isn’t a toy or device. Instead, it’s the Hayes Singers.
Dara Gillis, the director of the Hayes Singers, said that from Dec. 5-20, the group booked 20 singing engagements.
“This is busier than normal,” she said. “Last year, we had 15 or 16. Twenty is a lot.”
Gillis said the appointments range in audience and length, and sometimes they are short performances for events like Rotary Club, or longer performances for concerts or community events.
Hailey Wright, a senior in the group, theorized that because the group has done more events in recent years, it has received more attention and is in demand.
“As the years progress, we get more and more noticed,” Wright said. “People noticed and give more attention.”
Jackson Collins, a fellow member of the group, had another theory.
“There’s nothing to do in Delaware!” Collins joked.
Kylie Booth, a senior, said she likes the tight schedule, even if it is tiring.
“It’s tiring, but it’s nice to know that I’m needed somewhere,” Booth said.
Adrianna Gebhart, a senior, said being together for the performances really gives the group a chance to bond.
“Christmas time really makes us the music family,” she said. “It really ties us together and brings us closer.”
Wright agreed, adding spending time with the group has been her favorite part.
“I also appreciate Christmas time because of how much we get to be around each other,” she said. “Sometimes, we have two gigs in one day. It’s back to back and you get to really love everybody you get to be around.”
Fellow senior Alexia Dicke agreed. She said this is the tightest the group has been in the three years she’s been part of Hayes Singers.
“This is the busiest it’s been, but the group is also closer than any other year,” Dicke said. “We spend more time together and get closer.”
Newcomer Elijah Shireman, a sophomore, said that he’s felt like part of the group since the first gig.
“They’ve been incredibly welcoming,” Shireman said. “I would call all of these people my friends.”
Hayden Milewski, a senior and veteran in the group, said that winter and the Christmas season is when all the pieces come together for the Hayes Singers.
“Every year it’s really chaotic and everyone is trying to figure out how they fit in the group,” Milewski said. “When the Christmas season comes around, it all clicks together. From then on, everyone works on the same level. We’re comfortable with each other. There are no issues, just music being made.”
Meredith Keller, a junior, said her favorite thing about all the performances is doing something to give back.
“It being Christmas time, (I like) doing good for the community and serving the community,” Keller said. “Just getting everyone inspired. I think it’s cool.”
Caitlin Lipps, a senior and newcomer, said she enjoys seeing the faces of those in the audience when the group performs.
“They really enjoy it,” Lipps said. “You can see their faces light up and gasp.”
Gillis said she is proud of the group and its hard work this season.
“It has given them a lot to work for, and I think they’ve risen to the occasion,” she said. “They realize that we’re on demand, we can’t just show up and be tired. We have to be on our game. We have to show up and be ready to sing and sing well. I think they’ve done that extremely well.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.