The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck
Who - Close to 200 singers and dancers serenade local residents with Christmas carols.
What - The forty-five foot tractor-trailer, adorned with magnificent Christmas scenes and thousands of sparkling lights, has been spreading Yuletide cheer in the neighboring communities.
When - Started Christmas Eve, 1984. Every Christmas Eve, Rain or Shine.
Where - If you live in Toluca Lake or North Hollywood, you may already know about the Magical Christmas Caroling Truck, a local phenomenon that happens every year on Christmas Eve.
How it Started - At the end of a studio recording session on Christmas eve, 1984, about 12 people decided to jump on the back of an old dump truck parked in an alley and decided to go Christmas caroling. On the truck, they put a generator, a couple strands of lights from the reception area of the studio, along with drums, bass, keyboards, a few mics and 12 great musicians that thought they could sing. Armed with their musical instruments and about three songs that they knew, they set out to spread some Christmas cheer. The response from the 10 mile route was overwhelming and every Christmas Eve since the Carolers and the truck have made their appearances in the same neighborhoods.
Music - All the music that you hear is produced especially for Christmas Eve in the same recording studio that started the event in 1984. A new song or two is recorded and added each year for the night.
Power - The Truck's lights and sound system are powered by a studio quality diesel generator (newly installed in 2001) on the front of the float, producing over 30,000 watts of power.
Lights - There are over 10,000 lights used on the trucks. In 1997 we stripped every light off the truck and replaced them with new lights. The old ones were quite a few years old and had sat outside in storage.
Retractable lights - There are 8 retractable lights on the sides of the truck to spot light the scenes and carolers. The lights are opened and closed by four garage door openers located in the eves of the truck scenes. They are controlled by two people at the rear of the truck to help clear objects at the many corners of the route at Christmas Eve.
Sound - The truck's incredible music is accompanied by a 20,000 watt sound system which is borrowed each year and is especially designed to cover the neighborhoods evenly. For the bass there are two large speaker cabinets (sub-woofers) mounted under the truck and there are over 14 high quality sound speakers mounted around the top of the truck which "ring out the night". All the sound equipment is in racks located towards the front of the float and operated by two sound engineers who mix the music and the voices. The music you heard is digitally recorded for the best quality.
Transmitter - There is a FM transmitter on the truck which broadcasts the music to the following Santa's Train which has it's own sound system that is tuned to 88.3 FM. You may follow along and listen with your own FM radio.
Crew - It takes over 30 people to be on the ground and work the truck as it roams the streets Christmas Eve. This includes security and safety, drivers for the truck and lead and follow cars, light techs, Audio engineers, electrical, and many more.
Cast - The cast of carolers consist of many different people and families who have joined the singers thru the years, from all over the valley area. Some of the kids are from local schools. Some people even come to LA from other countries to be a part of the fun. Included in the cast are many different faiths and backgrounds, vocations, people just like you, all coming together to create the night and sing for the community. Come out and join us sometime.
Designers - The truck's design was a group effort. Many people worked together to create it. A couple of the main artists/designers are Linda Roane and Laurie Gerns.
The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck's creator is Rick Holbrook. Rick works in the record industry as a Record Engineer and has worked with many top recording artists and musicians...so it's not surprising that the sound of the truck has to be perfect for the night. He also lives in the area and wishes everyone Happy Holiday's!
Some Credits - Main organizers: Lorena Barton, Becky Seboldt; Event Creator: Rick Holbrook; Office: Heidi Brown, Maureen Higgins; Transportation & Safety: Steve Seboldt, Andy Anderson, JT Alex, Ken Rich, Merle Yoder; Dancers: Leilani Mackuakane-Potter
Route - The route is over ten miles and is covered in less than 7 hours
Problems - The entire community has really supported the event in every way. In the past the largest problems that we have encountered are the low hanging limbs on the trees. There have been times that we have not been able to go down an entire street because of the trees. We constantly have to watch the little Christmas lights and keep them working..we have two people doing that full time when we carol. One year we ran out of gas for the generators and a helpful person ran into his garage and gave us a gas can full of gas and on our way we went! Other problems have been cars parked too close to the corners which make its really hard for the truck to turn. There is an occasional Scrooge who complains about the truck, but what is Christmas without Scrooge or a Grinch. You know?
Donations - The Magical Christmas Truck is supported by all the people involved and the local community thru a local non-profit organization and all funds are directly used for the event expenses. Donations are even accepted from most of all the carolers and applied directly towards the costs of the event. Each year the event has just about covered its expenses, thanks to the generous donations from those who support it. In the past we have had donations of lumber to build the float, Christmas lights, Christmas hats, small teddy bears to give away, cookies to give away, speakers, generators, sound systems, radios, musicians, and on and on.
Who can join in the fun? - If you live in the route area, come out Christmas Eve and join in. If you don't live on the route, see the map for approximate locations and times, pack up the family in the car, find us and join in. It is very easy to find The Caroling Truck, just roll down your car window and listen!"