The sound of the ocean was muffled underneath the carols of the Soquel High Jazz Singers Friday night as the choir led a group of cheerful locals through the streets of Capitola Village for this year's annual holiday event.
The celebration drew a large crowd, which gathered along the shore in Esplanade Park. Free cookies, hot chocolate and coffee were offered at the bandstand by Shadowbrook Restaurant, while the high school Jazz Singers performed before leading a march through Capitola Village. Song books were also handed out to people who wanted to join in on the caroling.
Small children rode on shoulders, and couples walked hand-in-hand through the holiday-lit streets of Capitola Village as they gleefully sang traditional Christmas carols to passersby. The singing parade of scarves and Santa hats stopped at the doors of local shops and restaurants to spread holiday cheer to the people inside.
"It's a great way to start Christmas—the music has so much to do with the holiday, and it definitely feels good to be involved," said Soquel High Senior Leanna Sadin, who has sang in the jazz choir since her freshman year.
The event, which has been running for about five years, was organized by the Capitola Chamber of Commerce and the Business Improvement District and served as a chance for locals to spend time with their friends and family at an organized community event.
"We want all of the Capitola residents to come out with their kids and enjoy circling through the village," said Capitola Chamber of Commerce CEO Toni Castro. "We've got beautiful lights on all of the buildings—it kind of looks like a little Christmas village."
The caroling lasted for about an hour, with more people joining in as the group circled through Capitola Village along San Jose, Capitola and Monterey Avenues.
"I think tonight went really well—I mean, we went through the whole book twice!" said high school senior, Shawn Fisher, who has been with the jazz singers for two years. "It was a really big group; we could see the other side of the line from around the block."
Friday was first time that the Soquel High Jazz Singers has joined Capitola locals for the annual caroling event, but they usually carol 20-30 times every holiday season, said Mark Bidelman, who directs the group at Soquel High School.
"We had fun!" laughed Bidelman. "It looked like everyone was enjoying themselves. Everyone likes Christmas carols—it brightens their day, and it's a good warm feeling."