Dial-A-Carol makes its 2023 debut on Dec. 7, complete with live singing from the residents of Snyder Hall at the University of Illinois
One of our favorite Champaign-Urbana holiday traditions returns this week. Dial-A-Carol is back and perhaps better than ever, with University of Illinois dorm residents ready to fill your phone airwaves with a mega dose of holiday cheer.
If you’re not familiar with this wonderful family-friendly and free phenomenon, University of Illinois students sing Christmas carols and other holiday tunes LIVE — on demand — over the phone.
Dial-A-Carol phone lines open at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 7 and volunteers tend the lines through 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 13. It goes continuously, 24 hours a day, for the entire week.
And it’s great fun for kids of all ages, from 1 to 100.
All you have to do is call (217) 332-1882. (See directions below). Oh, and don’t forget to sing along.
With a song book that numbers more than 100 entries, it’s hard to stump the Snyder Hall students. While most callers ask for familiar Christmas songs such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer or more modern fare such as “All I Want For Christmas is You,” they will do their best to honor almost any holiday request.
How popular is it? In 2021, they fielded 5,834 calls. Within the first 17 hours of launching that year, they had callers from all 50 states and even three US territories.
If someone you love enjoys calling someone on the phone, don’t miss it.
Since 1960, University of Illinois students have sung Christmas carols over the phone, live from Snyder Hall.
While Dial-A-Carol helps bring holiday cheer all over the world, it also helps alleviate stress for student volunteers, many of whom are in the midst of studying for first semester finals. While technology may change, Dial-A-Carol persists.
A unique and beloved holiday tradition known all over the world, here’s how it works:
Step 1: Dial 217-332-1882.
Step 2: Wait for someone to answer. Be prepared when it’s someone live! You might get put on hold if it’s busy.
Step 3: Ask for a favorite song. You can try to stump the singers if you’d like. They have a huge songbook, filled with lots of classics, old and new. One song per call, please!
Step 4: Listen to the song. Sing along if you wish!
Step 5: Call again. You can call as much as you want.
“Dial-a-Carol has been able to continue for 59 years because not only has it become a wonderful tradition at the U of I, but also a tradition for families all across the world that continue to call every year,” said one of the Dial-a-Carol student volunteers in 2019.
Callers include children and adults of all ages including community members, university students, faculty members, and alumni.
In 2020, Dial-A-Carol had to adapt to the fact that the students were not allowed back into the dorms after the Thanksgiving break. That meant no live singing, and instead a menu of pre-recorded songs was provided as an option.
Thankfully, they were able to return in 2021.
Just to remind you, the telephone number during the week is (217) 332-1882.
Watch a video here:
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