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Posted at 10:16 PM ET, 12/13/2010

Twitter-organized 'flashmob' hits D.C.

By James Buck and Ann Scott Tyson

Metro commuters got a dose of Christmas cheer courtesy of a Twitter-organized "flashmob" of carolers Monday night.

The group sent out messages using the hashtag #metrocarols to rally singers to their rush-hour tour of downtown D.C. Metrorail stations, planning to go stop-to-stop with a list of songs. But when someone apparently leaked the group's schedule to and local TV stations, the organizers worried the event was getting too big and grumbled about the media and Metro spoiling their spontaneity.

"We drastically altered our plan" at the last minute, said organizer Jason McCool, an adjunct professor of music at Montgomery College. Instead, McCool said, the group decided to start the carols at the Dupont Circle fountain, braving a freezing cold in hopes that only the most dedicated would show up.

Wearing knit caps and carrying hot beverages, they broke into a chorus of "Let it Snow." Within minutes, as the carolers sang outside the entrance to Dupont Circle station in 26-degree weather, a few white flakes started to fall.

Determined to deliver a few surprise songs, the carolers walked into the nearest subway entrance and, riding up and down the escalator, sang a spoof of "The 12 Days of Christmas" with a Metro theme:

"On my first day in DC, Metro gave to me, a holiday carol for free," they sang, continuing with verses on "12 friendly neighbors, 11 working fare gates, 10 straps to hold on, 9-train conductors, 8 on-time buses, 7 escalators, 6 cheesy billboards, 5 empty seats, 4 heated cars, 3 bike racks and 2 SmarTrip cards ..."

"We've got people smiling," McCool said. He came up with the idea last week while riding Metro to work, he said.

"Everyone looked very down like they were being carted to prison camp," he said. "I decided -- what would happen if we did singing, would people smile?"

Inside, on the platform, Veronica and Damon Cooper agreed. "This is fantastic," Veronica Cooper said.

"It’s inspiring," said Erin Baxman, 30, a preschool teacher headed home to West Falls Church, after the carolers boarded her Metro train headed for Union station and sang "White Christmas." In any case, she added, "I'm around random singing all day long."

By James Buck and Ann Scott Tyson  | December 13, 2010; 10:16 PM ET
Categories:  DC, Traffic and Transportation  | Tags:  dc, metro  
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So they don't want others to join in with them? Or else what? More people would enjoy the holiday cheer?

By saying that they met in the cold to prevent people from joining in, the organizer shows that he is self-obsessed and grinchy.

Maybe next time they could do it in a trendy bar with a doorman to keep the riff-raff out?

Posted by: mikecapitolhill | December 14, 2010 5:20 AM | Report abuse

Of course we wanted people to join us. In fact, that was part of the point, and many people DID join us along the way. We only initially met in the cold because we were worried that since TBD (and other sources) had publicly broadcast our schedule against our express wishes, there was the risk of chaos ensuing, which we would of course be blamed for. (They even posted our last-minute change to Dupont, with the sarcastic hashtag #howTBDruinedchristmas - seemingly almost out of spite?) We moved the meeting place to outside only to collect our members, then went inside the Metro after singing for people outside the station.

The amount of venom in online forums directed toward a bunch of people who wanted to sing a few songs and have fun is nothing short of astounding. How do people get through their day with that much cynicism? Thankfully, the vast majority of people understood what this was about, everyone had a blast, and we accomplished our goals of bringing unexpected smiles to beleaguered people on their commutes.

Now, tell me again how that's a terrible thing? Happy holidays, everyone. :)

Posted by: coolmc | December 14, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

What a great thing to do. I hope I hear them sometime on the orange line going to Ballston.

Posted by: swissmiss150 | December 14, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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