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4 December, 2020

Carols as you've never seen them before

Carols by Candelight is an annual occasion in the Cairns Community, but this year it’s appearing in a novel format that has never been seen before.

By Tanya Murphy

Talented local singers and dancers have been filmed performing the carols at iconic Cairns locations including Upolu Cay on the Great Barrier Reef, Palm Cove Jetty, the Botanic Gardens, and Ellis Beach to name a few.

The result is a feature-length film – Carols in Cairns – to ensure the whole community can still enjoy the event while complying with COVID restrictions.

With Santa being granted a special exemption to travel to the Far North as an “essential worker”, the jolly big man in red has decided to enjoy a quick holiday in the tropics prior to his expected appearance at the annual carols event.

The Carols in Cairns production follows Santa as he makes his way to Cairns Performing Arts Centre (CPAC), showcasing his holiday memories at some of our region’s iconic destinations.

From catching a quick wave at Tobruk Pool to a bungy jump at AJ Hackett, taking a selfie on Cairns Zoom’s PowerJump to a visit to the magnificent Upolu Cay on the Great Barrier Reef, Santa makes the most of his vacation.

Along the way, Santa will also make a stop to turn on the lights at Council’s Christmas Tree, now located in Shields Street, at about 6.40pm, and he will invite the rest of Cairns to do the same at their homes.

The original screenplay and production showcases the talents of local producers, musicians, singers and dancers who are filmed with Santa on his holiday as he makes his way to CPAC where he will appear alongside entertainer and this year’s host Chris Lloyds.

Local talent featured in the production include Filipinos Cairns Community Choir at the Botanic Gardens, the Cairns Swing Ray Dancers at Palm Cove Jetty, the Voices of AustraNesia at Ellis Beach, the Fingerprint Trio at Lake Morris/Copperlode Falls Dam, Dancescapes, The June Vale Dancers at Gordonvale, The Jazzuleles at Munro Martin Parklands, Andrea Allumay at Upolu Cay and Cairns Young Voices at Cairns Performing Arts Centre.

Traditional Christmas carols dominate this year’s program, although there are two original pieces and a rap re-write of another classic.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning acknowledged 2020 has been a very difficult year and said he hoped Carols in Cairns would provide an enjoyable start to the festive season for families across the city.

“With so many challenges, we are having to do many things a little differently this year, including our annual Carols by Candlelight event,” Cr Manning said.

“Given COVID restrictions and all that means, we have created this online production to showcase the diversity of our community’s talent and the beauty of our region, while celebrating the festive season.”

Major sponsor, Smithfield Shopping Centre, is printing 5000 songbooks, which will be given away at the shopping centre and via media partners, with about 1000 being made available at Cairns Libraries. An electronic copy of the songbook will also be on Council’s website for download.

As well as words to the carols, the commemorative songbook features illustrations for children to colour-in.

Carols in Cairns will be broadcast on Council’s YouTube platform on Sunday 6 December from 6.30pm. The production will be available to share online with family and friends until January.

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