Christmas in the Park’s 21st milestone
Expect the ‘‘unexpected’’ at this year’s Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park.
Godfrey De Grut and his wife Cherie Mathieson are the show’s artistic directors and say the annual event – now celebrating its 21st birthday – will be full of surprises.
‘‘We want to present multiple memorable moments so that the kids go ‘whoa, that was amazing’,’’ Mathieson says.
‘‘We dream big and nothing is impossible. We have a few ideas to add a fresh perspective. We want to make it cooler.’’
The musical Aucklanders both made their debut on the Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park stage in previous years.
Mathieson was a backing vocalist for three years from 2008 when De Grut performed with the band Elemeno P.
The event is supported by Suburban Newspapers, publishers of the East & Bays Courier. It is one of the biggest festive season extravaganzas in the country, with performances by many musicians, dancers and television and radio personalities.
De Grut says it is fun putting the show together.
‘‘It’s an event we’ve all grown up with and I’m proud Cherie and I will be there for the 21st birthday celebration,’’ the University of Auckland music lecturer says.
‘‘We can’t wait to play a part in its musical coming-of-age.’’
De Grut received the RIANZ Jazz Album of the Year with his band The New Loungehead in 1997.
He has recorded and toured throughout the United States and Australia with Anika Moa, Boh Runga, Hollie Smith and Brooke Fraser and has performed with Nesian Mystik, Gin Wigmore and rapper Kanye West.
He was also the musical director for last year’s APRA Silver Scroll ceremony.
De Grut and his wife were thrilled to be asked to take up the Christmas role.
‘‘It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,’’ he says.
‘‘We have control over the pieces and placing them all together.
‘‘We enjoy working with the artists.’’
Mathieson, a vocal coach, says the extravaganza has a winning combination.
‘‘It’s family focused, free and in a beautiful location. And it’s Christmas, and that means lots of things to different people.’’
The couple will work on the Auckland and Christchurch shows which are both aired on TV3.
Musical flair: Cherie Mathieson and Godfrey De Grut aim to please at this year’s Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park.
Go to aucklandcityharbour. news.co.nz and click Latest Edition to see a video of one of last year’s performers.