Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Seventy students from New England toured several residential facilities in Dickinson as part of a tradition at the small town campus. Herald photos / Brad Mosher

The small silver-haired and well-dressed woman was smiling at St. Benedict’s Health Center Friday.

It may not have been Christmas yet, but by the twinkle in her eyes and the gigantic smile on her face, it was like she was unwrapping a gigantic Christmas present early.

By Brad Mosher

The Herald

And it was even snowing outside.

She was sitting in her wheelchair next to the main hallway and drinking in every moment as she watched scores of teenagers walk through the hallways of the care facility singing Christmas Carols.

The teenagers were all from New England and participating in a school tradition, according to organizer Shannay Witte.

The woman watching the musical parade of young people  filling not only the hallway but also the entire facility with tidings of comfort and joy wasn’t the only person smiling.

There were smiles all around….even on the face of the administrater, Jon Frantsvog.

For him, it was perfect and something he was thankful for.

“We’ve had several groups in town, but as far as I knw, this is the only group from out of town,” he said, standing  outside the entrance as the carolers were finishing their performance.

“We’ll take Christmas carolers whenever,” he added with big smile.

One of the previous caroling groups were elementary students. “I don’t know where they came from but the ittle one were really cute,” he said with a chuckle.

Students leave St. Benedict’s in Dickinson for a short trip to their next stop Friday afternoon when 70 carolers boarded two buses for an annual tradition at New England Public School. – Herald photo by Brad Mosher

He said that he was thankful for all the groups who take there time to come and perform for the people in the building. “There are some very generous people in the area,” the administrator added.

And as far as he is concerned they are all welcome.

The big difference, according to the adminstrator, the New England performers are the only ones who come ‘a-caroling’ from out of town.

That makes it special, he added.

For the singers, St. Benedict’s was just one of the stops in Dickinson.

The students also visited Evergreen, CountryHouse and Edgewood Hawks Point before taking a lunch break for pizza.

In the afternoon, the two-bus caravan visited St. Benedict’s and St. Luke’s Home before taking an ice cream break and concluding the trip.

According to Witte, the students start practicing several days before their one-day performance.

They also get a songbook of the Christmas Carols they would need to perform on their visit to Dickinson.

The Christmas Choir was organized by Witte and Conway Heupel.


New England students in grades seven through 12 spent most of Dec. 21 on the road bringing tidings of good cheer to several healthcare facilities in Dickinson. When they finished singing, they took a pizza break for lunch and after a full day of entertaining got an ice cream reward before returning to New England.

.Herald photos /Brad Mosher

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