All Saints Church, Noble Street, Newtown. Saturday, December 2nd, 5pm.
Allister Cox conducted a choir of 37 singers in a program of carols from around the world. The Geelong Chorale was accompanied by Kristine Mellens (piano) and Frank De Rosso. The guest artists for this concert were the Geelong Handbell Choir.
The concert began with Australian bird song imitations from the choir placed at the rear of the church. The work was If Christ had been born in another time composed by Australian Matthew Orlovich. This set the tone for music of high quality and audience appeal. Carols ranged from traditional English and European, to modern works including Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose (Colin Brumby), Jewel Carol, composed by New Zealander Christopher Marshall and Shepherds Pipe Carol (John Rutter). There were several songs for audience participation.
As is usual for the Geelong Chorale’s Christmas concerts, the concert ended with We Wish You a Merry Christmas (English West Country carol) in a spectacular setting by Arthur Warrell.
This Christmas concert continues the Geelong Chorale’s Christmas tradition of carol concerts. These started in 1981 – the Year of the Disabled*. Originally, a free gift from the Chorale to the community, the aim was to present a short, easily accessible concert of traditional and new carols to the community, particularly targeting people who find attending outdoors ‘carols by candlelight’ events difficult. The first concerts were held in the Geelong Art Gallery, and later the foyer of the Geelong Performing Arts Centre. Children sat on the floor, and the venues were easily wheel-chair accessible. Several aged care centres brought busloads of people to attend.
With the local ‘carols by candlelight’ cancelled due to bad weather, it’s a pity that the Chorale’s alternative offering was not better advertised. The rather small audience certainly enjoyed the concert.
*Prior to 1981, the Gama Singers (now the Geelong Chorale) gave annual Christmas cafe concerts.
Read Colin Mockett’s review of Christmas Around the World at Entertainment Geelong.