For Darryl Engler there is absolutely nothing better for him to do than to walk around singing through the night until 7 a.m. Christmas morning.

"It's my duty," he said. "It's something you grow up with, something you feel you have to do to keep the tradition. I don't want the tradition to lapse on my watch."

Engler is director of the Glen Rock Carolers, a group in its 166th year of serenading Glen Rock residents with holiday songs.

The tradition started in 1848 by five men -- Mark Radcliff, George Shaw, Charles Heathcoate, Mark Heathcote and James Heathcote -- who moved to the borough from England. The men sang to residents carols from their hometowns.

In and out: This year's singing begins with an indoor, warm-up concert at 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, Christmas Eve, at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, 47 Hanover St. in Glen Rock. The concert will last about an hour.

Afterward, the carolers will head outside, where they will begin singing at the borough square at midnight. Their first song will be "Christmas Hymn." Then they will walk through the streets singing carols for the next seven hours early Christmas morning, covering the entire town, Engler said.

The Glen Rock Carolers consist of 50 "caped" or core members, eight life members who have been singing for more than 50 Christmases and 18 associates who are learning how to be carolers while they are on a waiting list to become one of the 50 caped singers.

Robert Nicklow II, the group's secretary, said he's been a Glen Rock caroler since 1983, singing tenor.

"It's just about the memories you create and keeping the tradition going," said Nicklow, of Shrewsbury. "It's just letting (people) know that Christ is born and spreading the word about him."

Engler said he never gets cold while singing outside all night long, thanks to the carolers' uniforms being made of wool. The singing men wear coats, capes, knitted scarfs and top hats.

'Glen Rock Christmas': His daughter, Lori Engler of Orlando, Fla., said she has never missed a "Glen Rock Christmas" from the time she was born. She travels back to the borough every year for the holidays.

Lori Engler said she has a "huge sense of pride" when watching her father perform as part of the Glen Rock Carolers. She said she especially enjoys hearing the group sing her father's favorite song, "Hark, Hark!"

"I love that I can come back to the same town with the same tradition, which is really comforting," Lori Engler said. "In a world where so many things are changing, there is something that hasn't changed, the Glen Rock Carolers, and that's pretty special."

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