After a rocky start when the NCA demanded, but then waived a $2000 staging fee, this year’s Carols by Candlelight at Stage 88 were a spectacular success. Around 9000 people arrived for the 74th annual event on December 18, raising valuable funds for the Domestic Violence Crisis Service.
Organisers from the Woden Valley Youth Choir, who have been running the event for the past quarter-century, said that despite the threat of storms, Canberra turned on a superb summer evening.
The annual Carols are Canberra’s largest and are made possible by a dedicated crew of volunteers and sponsorship from the Canberra community.
Every cent given by the public goes to the nominated charity and all performers volunteer their time. In addition to the funds given on the night, business owners also made generous donations.
Mirjana Wilson from The Domestic Violence Crisis Service accepted a donation of more than $10,000 in total from the event. DVCS says they have received calls for assistance since Carols, saying that the exposure has been important to let Canberrans know the service is there to help.
The Woden Valley Youth Choir and Canberra City Band were the main attractions for the evening, and the event was hosted by Ian Maclean. And there was, of course, a special visit from Santa who arrived just after 8 in a bright orange ute.
“Skateboard Santa” and other songs delighted the large crowd of children who made their way to the front of the stage to get close to the jolly old fellow. Very much a family event, this year’s event was also the first Carols by Candlelight for new WVYC Artistic Director, Olivia Swift.
As the sun went down Commonwealth Park was filled with the soft glow of candles, and at the end of the night, the performers signed off with an upbeat rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.