COVID-19 may have stopped the New Year’s Eve fireworks but Carols by Candlelight will flicker on for 2,000 Canberrans this Saturday (12 December).
The entirely community-run event will take place at Stage 88 and include the Woden Valley Youth Choir (WVYC), which has been part of the celebration since the 1970s before becoming the event’s organisers in the 1990s.
“Having a strong sense of community connection is always an important thing, but this year, with the coronavirus pandemic turning much of what we take for granted upside down, it has taken on even greater importance and we want to celebrate that,” WVYC artistic director Olivia Swift said.
“It is even more important this year, in a year of upheaval and distress, to have something that is community-minded and brings people together for a little bit of joy.”
Ms Swift has been part of the event for the last two years and says it is the choristers’ favourite event of the year.
“The kids love it, they really enjoy it,” she said.
“[My favourite part] is just watching them come to life on the stage. They are quite used to performing but it is definitely their favourite event of the year and it is nice to see them enjoy giving back to the community.”
Lucy Sugerman will be joining the choir and the Canberra City Band* for the festivities while a number of other artists will also grace the stage.
Tickets are being sold for this year’s event to help cover the extra costs associated with keeping the event COVID-safe. The $12.50 ticket will include a candle, water and a song sheet.
The event will also be live-streamed on the ABC Canberra Facebook page and broadcast via ABC Radio Canberra 666 AM.
“Having a live stream is a great way for people who cannot come, maybe because they’re immunocompromised or are just outside of Canberra, to be able to watch and participate in the carols and sing along from their living room,” Ms Swift said.
The Carols support a different charity every year and this year organisers have chosen to partner with Hands Across Canberra.
Tickets can be booked through trybooking.
*The original article said the choir had been involved since 2017, this is incorrect and the article has been updated.