Whanganui Midweek

Festive carols ring out at alternativ­e concert

Rotary Club organises livestream­ed event

- Paul Brooks

On Sunday, it should have been a celebrator­y scene at the Punchbowl at Virginia Lake, with big choirs, soloists and Brass Whanganui entertaini­ng an outdoor crowd with Carols by Candleligh­t.

There should have been people having picnics on the grass, then, holding their lyrics sheets in one hand and a lit candle in the other, singing into the evening with brass and choir accompanim­ent.

Whanganui’s Covid red light designatio­n brought that long-standing tradition to a halt, but Shaun Hogan, of Rotary Club of Wanganui North, stepped up and organised an alternativ­e.

On Sunday night, at the Cleveland Funeral Home chapel, a hand-picked choir and a reduced version of Brass Whanganui, with compere Jonathon Greenwell, played and sang traditiona­l Christmas carols while being livestream­ed to the Rotary North page on Facebook.

The occasion used Cleveland’s livestream­ing facilities, with camera and equipment manned by fatherand-son team Craig and Rhys Cleveland.

Fourteen singers and about the same number of brass musicians, conducted by Bruce Jellyman, filled the chapel with music, while every word spoken or sung was translated into New Zealand Sign Language by NZSL interprete­rs, sisters Tarsha and Bernadette Cutelli.

The evening was introduced by Jonathon and the night began uptempo with Jingle Bell Rock.

As it is traditiona­lly a charity event, the Facebook page had a link to a Givealittl­e page for people to donate and let Rotary do the charity work they do so well. The video of the evening’s carols and the link to the Givealittl­e page remain in place.

Included in the evening’s festivitie­s were the Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall, and a certain gentleman in a red-and-white suit.

Also present were Rotary Club of Wanganui North president John Tindle, and Rotary district governor Marion Johnston. Many Rotarians also filled seats in the choir and the band.

In this time of uncertaint­y around public events, it was a fitting alternativ­e and a fine evening of music and song.

 ?? Photos / Paul Brooks ?? The choir in full song at the livestream­ed carols evening.
Photos / Paul Brooks The choir in full song at the livestream­ed carols evening.
 ?? ?? The Cleveland technical department, Craig (standing) and Rhys.
The Cleveland technical department, Craig (standing) and Rhys.
 ?? ?? His Worship the Mayor, Hamish McDouall, waits in the wings.
His Worship the Mayor, Hamish McDouall, waits in the wings.
 ?? ?? Compere Jonathon Greenwell keeps a special chair warm.
Compere Jonathon Greenwell keeps a special chair warm.
 ?? ?? Carols as seen through the Cleveland chapel window.
Carols as seen through the Cleveland chapel window.
 ?? ?? Bruce Jellyman and Brass Whanganui.
Bruce Jellyman and Brass Whanganui.

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