‘Dial-a-Carol’ Answers Calls For Holiday Songs From Around The Globe

December 14, 2018

Students gather in the lobby of Snyder Hall at the U of I campus to answer the 'Dial-a-Carol' hotline on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018.

Anna Casey/Illinois Public Media

They’ve received calls from all over the world, including a classroom in China at 3 a.m., a New Zealand radio station and from people in other states from coast to coast.

It’s not a call center, but the University of Illinois’ annual ‘Dial-a-Carol’ event sponsored by University Housing and Student Affairs. People can call in to request a holiday song, and students gathered in the lobby of the Snyder residence hall pull up the lyrics on laptops and sing the request, either as a solo or as a group, depending on who is available to man the hotline.

“Overall, we could be getting forty to fifty calls an hour,” said sophomore Bradley Houha, a volunteer who had just completed a duet of “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.”  He said the calls spike before midnight, and at that point the calls for carols start to come more from international numbers.

Last year, ‘Dial-a-Carol’ received song requests from more than 80 countries, according to organizers. The most popular request they said has traditionally been Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” prompting the creation of a ‘Mariah Meter’ to keep count.

But Scott Rogman, who graduated from U of I last year, said on Friday afternoon that he has been getting several requests for “Jingle Bells.”

“I’ve been doing this for the last four years,” Rogman said. “I remember doing it when I was a student during finals week. It’s kind of a good way to blow off steam.”

One year, Rogman said he received a call from a radio show in New Zealand in the early morning hours.

“They were interviewing me and asking me a ton of questions, and I was the only one in the lobby at the time. You get calls from all over the place,” Rogman said.

The ‘Dial-a-Carol’ hotline is in its 58th year. Volunteers will be taking requests for carols free of charge, 24 hours a day, until Dec. 19.  You can request a carol by calling 217-332-1882

Story source: WILL