Dec. 19, 2002 – You don't have to be able to sing harmony to join Harmony Dem on Saturday night for the group's fifth annual Carol Sing-Along at Molly Molones in Red Hook on St. Thomas. Those around you will probably appreciate it if you can sing the melody, but even that's not a requirement. It's the spirit of the season that counts.
It doesn't matter whether you know the words or not, either; songbooks of 12 carols will be provided.
"We will have a good time, and you will too," says Fred Watts, who with his wife, Polly, got the folk-oriented music group going donkey years ago.
Actually, the seasonal sing-along is just part of the Saturday gig, which goes from 6 to 8 p.m. at the open-air Irish pub in the American Yacht Haven complex. "We will be caroling at the end of the first set and the beginning of the second set," Fred Watts says. The rest of the program will be vintage Harmony Dem harmonies, melodies and instrumentalities.
"We'll be singing Harmony Dem favorites along with the carols," Polly Watts says. "Our current repertoire combines the Bobs — Marley and Dylan — with the Carter Family, half a dozen Cajun tunes, a dash of Chuck Berry, some Crosby Stills Nash and Young, some bluegrass and gospel, a few Irish tunes and also a few originals." In short, she adds, "everything we love!"
The ensemble in its current incarnation consists of the Wattses (Fred on autoharp, Polly mainly on vocals but also known to play spoons and other hand-held percussion objects), guitarist Donnie Edwards and bass player Grizz Skeels.
Saturday's performance will be a family affair. That means young and old are encouraged to come out to enjoy the music, but also that there'll be some kin setting in on the musical side: the Wattses' daughter, Karen, and her new husband, Doug Farrington; and Edwards' daughters, Kitty and Ginny. "Probably Cletus McBride will sit in, too," Polly Watts says, referring to the Irish-music artist who's currently the house musician at Molly Molones.
"We started the Carol Sing-Along at Finn McCool's, which was Frank Brittingham's first pub, at Compass Point," Polly Watts says. When Brittingham moved to AYH and opened Molly Molones, Harmony Dem made the move as well. "We've refined it at Molly Molones," she says of the annual holiday event.
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