The failed attempt to serenade Christmas shoppers Monday with a performance of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" would have been the region's largest "flash mob."
But with Westfield Galleria officials already in the loop and so much pre-event publicity, it's worth debating whether the Sacramento Choral Society's attempted "random act of musical kindness" would even qualify as a flash mob.
In the purest sense, "flash mobs" are pranks or improvisational performances that catch other people at the venue completely by surprise. In some cases, performers have been arrested in their attempts at humor.
Uniformed firefighters helped evacuate the Christmas-bloated mall Monday evening after an estimated 5,000 people crowded the Roseville mall's food court expecting to see a show. The evacuation made international headlines.
"I don't think it was a flash mob," said David Zuckerman, who studies pop culture at California State University, Sacramento. "It was a failed attempt at Christmas caroling."
Efforts to reach the Choral Society were unsuccessful.
By most accounts, flash mobs began early this decade in New York City and quickly spread to major cities around the globe. While displaying some of the elements of traditional clandestine flash mobs, it's not clear the wave of vocal and dance performances now sweeping the nation and popping up on YouTube qualify as flash mobs.
Choral flash mobs in particular are on the upswing. On Sunday, at least 450 people burst into the "Hallelujah Chorus" at a Kansas City, Mo., shopping center. Others, often singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" as well, have broken out in cities worldwide, including last weekend in stores and malls and airports in Dallas; Orlando, Fla.; and Sioux Falls, S.D.
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