Christ­mas in the Park’s 21st mile­stone

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SHEL­LEY GRECO

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. and click Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video of one of last year’s per­form­ers.

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