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Video: SeaBus commuters join impromptu Christmas carolling

Were you aboard the carol crossings?
Jill Samycia, also known as Sing with Jill, leads SeaBus commuters in Christmas carolling, Dec. 16, 2023.

I saw three ships come sailing in. I heard them and sang along too.

Travellers aboard the SeaBus on Dec. 16 found themselves in a singalong after TransLink brought in musician Jill Samycia to lead commuters in some Christmas carolling.

Samycia and her electric piano made eight crossings over two hours with a full repertoire of Christmas standards.

“We had to wait for the little security announcement and then we’d break into song,” she said. “It was awesome.”

Those who didn’t feel like being in on the impromptu carolling could find their way to the back of the SeaBus, Samycia said. Others came forward to participate, which Samycia facilitated by making lyrics available with carol sheets and QR codes.

“I totally appreciate that Christmas is not for everybody. Singing is not for everybody,” she said. “But even the people that weren't really used to singing were still bopping away.”

By far, the songs that got the most buy-in from carolling commuters were Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You, Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree and Last Christmas by George Michael.

“Oh my goodness gracious, all the classics,” she said.



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It’s the second time Samycia has been invited to come serenade SeaBus passengers under TransLink’s Art Moves program.

Samycia said she’d love for it to become an annual tradition spread out over more days in December. More than adding a bit of seasonal spirit to the commute, carolling is therapeutic in other ways, Samycia said.

“It's the holidays, and it can be challenging for people and it’s just a wonderful way to lift somebody's spirits. Singing together is kind of an out-of-body experience. For some people, it can be very emotional,” she said. “It was just a wonderful way to bring people together, smile, laugh sing for 10 minutes and then they're off on their day. And everybody was so wonderful and so happy and so warm and so grateful. It fills up my cup just as much as I know that it filled up some people's cups on those rides.”

Samycia, a vocal coach to professional singers by trade, typically does public performances under the name Sing with Jill.