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Sing-along at Alex's

"All hail to the days that merit more praise than all the rest of the year" when regulars and Ashland locals get together for an old-fashioned sing-along of Christmas carols from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, at Alex's Plaza Restaurant and Bar, 35 N. Main St.

"A few years ago, we decided to get some of the regulars from Alex's together on a day before Christmas for caroling," says Mike Drager, who emcees the group. "We thought we'd negate the Scrooges that hang out there."

Drager will be joined by Gayle Kubli and Stefan Windroth. Windroth will act as the "bouncing ball" — metaphorically — to help singers with the lyrics. Jim Quinby, a regular fixture at Alex's piano, joins the group this year as accompanist.

"It started out as a loose group of folks singing and playing acoustic instruments," Drager says. "It caught on, and we've been invited back for the fourth year."

Drager and his group created a list of contemporary and traditional carols that have been requested at the sing-along and made song sheets to distribute to those who don't know the lyrics.

"It's all of the stuff we grew up with as kids," Drager says. "It's the familiar tunes that lend well to a caroling. No one has to sing well, just join in."

Drager belonged to a comedy duo called Blue Kangaroo back in his early 20s. The act was similar to The Smothers Brothers, but more off-color.

Windroth is an astrologer with a call-in radio show Sunday mornings on Ashland's KSKQ.

"When we all sing together, we are in the moment between past and future, and our boundaries dissolve," Windroth says.

"There's some fun stuff at the sing-alongs," Drager says. "I usually smart-off a lot, mostly to get people singing. But we can never get that curmudgeon Charles Tobey to pipe up."