Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock...
Christmas Carols. A point of contention for many during this holiday season. Some (like yours truly) enjoy the festive tunes for the most part, feeling that they help define a joyous occasion and identify with the spirit of goodwill that most of the songs inspire. Others find them grating and would rather listen to Justin Bieber or Right Said Fred (or even listen to the soundtrack to the remake of Mamma Mia! starring Pierce Brosnan) rather than hear anyone singing a Christmas Carol.
At this time of year, I load a few Christmas albums onto my iPhone and I certainly don’t mind hearing carols being piped through shopping centre PA systems as I search for Christmas presents for friends and family. What I really enjoy though is carollers. It could be two uni students busking to bolster their tuition fee payments (or beer money, we all have our priorities), a barber-shop quartet or a school or church choir. There’s just something magical about human voices echoing together in harmony (for the most part) that really makes me smile.
Someone who enjoys Carols even more than I do is my wonderful, amazing sister. She also particularly loves seeing them performed live. I remember one Christmas I was in town in time for the local council’s carols event – a gathering of local and touring talent in the open air, with friends and families gathered to hear (and sing along with) carols on a warm, breezy evening. It started early so that the kids could have some fun before beginning to nod off and since it was the only such event I’ve attended so far, I cherish that memory quite a bit.
I’m rarely back in Cairns to be part of this event as it occurs a week or two before Christmas, however I still look forward to sharing live carols with my sister and our family. As a result, a solid tradition has emerged. Whenever we can, we gather together every Christmas Eve to watch and enjoy a Carol event hosted in Melbourne as it is broadcast around the nation. The event is organised to raise money to support children who are blind or have low vision and it attracts some of Australia’s biggest entertainers.
These Carols are staged at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, an open air venue that attracts about 10,000 people and entertains throughout the night with artists of all ages and singing backgrounds performing to a captive audience. From the newest pop stars to rocking out a Christmas tune for the tweens, to the Australian Girls and Boys Choir and with some more classical voices in between, everyone can find something to enjoy in the night’s entertainment. Personally, I find happiness in the fact that pretty much any televised carolling will always bring me back to my sister.
You’re more than welcome to join us this year if you like. The show starts at 8pm sharp.
On the eighth day of Christmas, the Season gave to me…
Eight PM Carols
Seven tonnes of tucker
Six AM wake-up
Five days off
Four airborne hours
Three fresh breaths
Two swimming pools
and a trifle made for the Family