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'Flash' Is The Key To A Joyful Mob's Success

Inspired by a  very popular Opera Company of Philadelphia video of a "flash mob" signing the Hallelujah Chorus, folks across the country are trying to organize "random acts of chorus" to surprise and delight holiday shoppers or travelers.

Sunday in Kansas City, about 450 people suddenly burst into song at the Crown Center complex. "As mobs go, it possibly was the most massive and musical in Kansas City history," The Kansas City Star writes. The Star has also posted this video report about the joyful gathering:

Ann Sundeen, who the Starsays was "the brainchild of the event," tells All Things Consideredhost Robert Siegel that when she was organizing, "I started with about 20 people from my church choir. ... Then our choir director sent out to her contact list. So we invited those people and they invited their friends and so on and so on. We also used Facebook":

But also on ATC today, Nathan Rott reports that when some folks in Washington, D.C., tried to do something similar the whole surprise got blown. The media caught on and the organizer started getting calls. Then, "an online news outlet published the carolers' full schedule. ... The element of surprise, key to a successful flash mob, was lost." The flash, "was dashed":

Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams ATC to hear more about the flash choruses.

And as for the Philadelphia video that is credited with inspiring all this, here it is:

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.