• Broadway Beat

Study Finds 90% of Americans Don’t Notice When Carolers Harmonize, So Calm Down, Debra

by Brendan Leonard. @brennylen.

GREENWICH, CT. - A new study conducted by the Fünkly-Fresh Musicology Institute of Connecticut has sent shockwaves through the country, particularly the most annoying suburbs. The beloved tradition of Christmas caroling may never be the same after music scientists have come to the conclusion that most Americans do not notice when carolers harmonize, despite how much Debra would like to think they do.


“We have discovered that 90% of Americans are too distracted by how much they want the awkward interaction to be over,” says Dr. Peter Duffy, who led the study, which was funded by an association called The Debra’s Fed-up Neighbors-Make It Stop Alliance. “The data suggests that even warming up is doing too much. Actually, Americans are more likely to shut their doors to carolers if they get the sense that there’s been too much thought put into it.”


These findings have taken a much needed emotional toll on communities around the country that traditionally spend way too long rehearsing the same songs year after year. Debra Cornelieus-Stuffington of Greenwich is the self-proclaimed “conductor” of a group of carolers called The Turtle Dove Choir.


“We usually start rehearing in July,” Debra told us after correcting our posture. “I always thought four times a week wasn’t enough practice and that’s why people have thrown hot cocoa on us, because Steve can’t get the bass part right.” However, science isn’t pointing fingers at Steve. The study finds 68% of hot cocoa is thrown to prevent encores. With this news, Debra elaborated.


“I get that a month of tech seems excessive when there’s no set, lighting, or band - but those plastic tea lights don’t light themselves!”


Other members of the Turtle Dove Choir did not seem to share Debra’s disappointment. Bobby Stuffington, brother-in-law to Debra, has been caroling, in his words, “against his will,” for the past 20 years.


“Debra had us doing 12-part harmony on ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,’” said Stuffington, who spent much of last year in a caroling-induced coma. “Now, we can finally get back to what Christmas is all about, which is getting so drunk on Bailey’s that you think you can hit on the high note in ‘All I Want for Christmas is You.’”


It is unclear how the repercussions of this study will play out this holiday season, but Dr. Duffy had this advice to share for those planning to brave the elements and go caroling: “Don’t make it about you and showing off your head voice. Sing the melody, have some eggnog, and keep it moving, people.”