u of i carols

As final exams wind down for the semester at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, students in one dormitory are on their way to shattering a joyful holiday record 56 years in the making.

U of I students in Snyder Hall have been operating the Dial-a-Carol hotline for a week in December every year since 1960. People from all over the world phone the hotline – 217-332-1882 – to be serenaded by students who will sing a requested holiday carol to each caller. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day the final week of the first semester every year. Last year students sang more than 6,800 carols to appreciative callers.

Wait times depend on the time of day and the number of students available to man the hotline throughout the day. Elementary and middle school teachers have been known to phone the hotline from their classrooms – something that delights the younger students as well as the college students who volunteer to man the hotline.

The program, which opened at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, was featured in a Washington Post article on Friday. Within the first 14 hours Dial-a-Carol answered 1,000 calls from all 50 states and several countries.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, the students had answered nearly 7,300 calls, shattering their record, according to a Facebook update.

Fans of the program took to social media to express appreciation to the students.

“Katie answered and sang ‘The Christmas Song’ for me. She did a beautiful job,” one woman wrote on the program’s Facebook page. “It was one of my mother's favorite Christmas tunes and it brought tears to my eyes as Katie sang to me. Thanks to all of you for doing this. It really is fun, special and meaningful!”

Dial-a-Carol ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

Dial-a-Carol online: http://www.housing.illinois.edu/living-options/residence-halls/undergraduate-halls/snyder/dial-a-carol
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/DialACarol
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DialACarol/?fref=ts
In the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/12/11/call-this-number-and-a-live-person-will-sing-you-any-christmas-song-247-really/