Since 1980, people have flocked to Mammoth Cave National Park each year not for dangling speleothems or expansive caverns, but for echoing acoustics.
It turns out the natural reverb of the limestone halls creates a great setting to sing holiday melodies. The tradition returns Sunday with the park’s 40th anniversary Annual Cave Sing.
“It’s a great way for us to kick off the holidays and do something different than cave tours,” park spokeswoman Molly Schroer said. “People have been singing in the cave for hundreds of years.”
Before the caroling, there will be piano music provided by concert pianist – and former Mammoth Cave guide – Janet Bass Smith in the Rotunda Room at the Lodge at Mammoth Cave at 1 p.m.
At 2 p.m., attendees will depart from the park’s visitor center for the historic entrance. The Mammoth Cave chapter of the Caveman Chorus will then perform 30 to 45 minutes of a cappella Christmas tunes.
David White, a member of the Caveman Chorus, performed during one of the park’s first cave sing events in the 1980s with a serene snowy blanket outside.
“It was just beautiful,” he said.
He’s looking forward to utilizing the cave’s acoustics again. “The sound going out is amazing,” White said, “when you stand in the right spot.”
After the singing, there will be complimentary refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus at the Lodge.
Each year, several hundred people attend the annual event, according to Schroer.
The attendance numbers can be weather-dependent, but it’s a rain, snow or shine event. The cave offers protective cover and temperatures that hover at about 54 degrees year-round.
– Follow reporter Caroline Eggers on Twitter @eggersdailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.