Another year, another Carols by Candlelight! And that's another year almost gone. On the plus side, our weather curse seems to be finally broken – it wasn't too hot or too cold or raining or windy or having to battle a battalion of flies. Goldilocks weather (I know, we were a little freaked too). If anything it was a little cool but that just meant we were very grateful for our jackets (which makes a nice change). There was no wind or even a breeze (at least where I was sitting) so no fly away music.
But enough! You don't want to hear yet another weather report from me (at least I don't think you do). It's very safe to say that it was another magical evening filled with wonderful music, plenty of Christmas spirit and a few good laughs. Perfection, in other words. But as the very best place to start is the beginning, that's where I'll take it from.
The evening started with All I Want for Christmas, sung by Katherine John. Always a very popular number and a good way to kick things off. It must be noted that Katherine was kept very busy – not only was she performing but she was our MC for the evening (assisted by two very cheeky elves!).
It was then time for some very special guests – Santa and Mrs Claus! Making their way in from the Christmas Parade, there were a lot of children very pleased to see them and to listen to Santa (who had a bit of a Canadian twang. He must spend a decent amount of time holidaying there). Santa then introduced us to Paul from the Salvation Army who had a Christmas message to share with us all.
We were then ready for the musical part of the evening. Things got going with one of our instrumental numbers, Deck the Halls (but not as you know it!) while the Roleystone Theatre Choir made their way onto the stage. Here they sang Rocking Around the Christmas Tree and Feliz Navidad. Katherine was then back for another solo, this time performing Santa Baby, which is a little bit of a jazzy number. She was then joined by the rest of the Classic Sounds Choir, singing an a capella rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. This was very well received with a knock out solo turn from a very young lady. You know you've done good when people cheer half way through a performance. We then joined them for O Holy Night, making sure we were breathing in all the right places! The Roleystone Theatre Choir then made their way back onto the stage and we had our combined adults choir for the evening. They performed a Christmas medley including Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Silver Bells and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. As they made their way off stage we played them out with Jingle Bell Rock.
But the stage didn't stay empty for long. We were joined by choirs from three different schools – Armadale Primary School, Clifton Hills Primary School and John Wollaston Anglican Community School. Together they did a fantastic job and I think they had a really good time. As a group they sang Little Drummer Boy, Three Drovers, Aussie Jingle Bells and Happy Christmas. The last was particularly notable with different choirs singing different parts which is not only tricky to do but tricky to rehearse separately! So their efforts are to be noted and they really did do a wonderful job.
Which brings us to one of the most anticipated moments of the evening. The Mayor made his address and led us all in the countdown (which was very loud and enthusiastic) to switch on the lights! He was assisted by the two mischievous elves who certainly made their presence known throughout the evening! With the Christmas trees and some of the trees in the park all lit up, the only possible follow-up was Let the Bells Ring (yes, you guessed it, I really enjoy playing this one). This led us into our final bracket for the evening.
With all the singers back on stage for the final part of the evening, we seemed to fly through Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Silent Night, Away in a Manger, Deck the Halls and Joy to the World. With the final speeches and thank yous done (which are very important as these events do not come together without people working very hard and planning for a very long time) it was time for the penultimate moment of the evening. All performers on stage for We Wish You a Merry Christmas because you really can't finish with anything else. And we do wish you a Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year). We then wrapped things up with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer but the version we've referred to throughout rehearsals as the 'awesome one' (which it is, so no hyperbole here). If the Carols were a movie, this would have been the closing credits (where the majority bolts towards to exit but a few people stay until the lights come up or the end). And let me say that there is sometimes a reward for sticking about (I know because I am one of those people). In this case it was awesome Rudolph.
So that's it from us for 2016! We're going to enjoy our Christmas break now but it is a little bit shorter this year – we'll be back on the 11th January as 2017 is going to be a big year for us. I could tell you more but that's not how cliff hangers work (and if every TV show can do that, why can't I?). Stay safe and we'll see you next year!