Carols a hit for young and old

December 23, 2021 BY

Festive spirit: Violet Brereton enjoys the 50th annual Bendigo Carols by Candlelight. Photos: STEVE WOMERSLEY

CHRISTMAS came early for carollers at Rosalind Park last Sunday.

The 50th annual Bendigo Rotary Carols by Candlelight had thousands in the festive spirit, with a range of entertainment and of course, a visit from Santa Claus himself.

President of Rotary Club of Bendigo, Tom Dobeli, said they had an eye on the weather radar while setting up on a rainy Sunday morning, but the sun shone through before the first carol began.

Operatic soprano Merlyn Quaife serenaded the crowd during Sunday’s Bendigo Rotary Carols by Candlelight.

“We’re over the moon,” he said. “All the people out there, it’s just wonderful. I didn’t think it was going to happen in the morning, we had the rain, but we worked through it, we didn’t cancel,” he said.

“We’re just happy to see families out enjoying themselves prior to Christmas, it’s a great start.

“They can go home, enjoy Christmas with their family and have a great new year. Hopefully next year will be different to the last.”

The night’s entertainment was opened by 14-year-old Scarlett Abbott, with performances also by the City of Greater Bendigo Brass Band, the Bendigo Youth Choir, fan favourite Luke Gallagher, operatic soprano Merlyn Quaife, and baritone Dan Sexton.

It was Abbott’s second time performing at the carols, singing at the last event in 2019.

“It’s so nice to be back, it’s really great,” she said before taking the stage.

“It’s nerve-wracking but I think I’m used to performing for big crowds now. It’s really lovely to give back to my community, it’s a really enjoyable experience.”

For Emma and Sean Pontelandolfo, the night marked the first carols for the young family with eight-month-old Amy and two-and-a-half-year-old Nate in attendance.

“It’s exciting, Sean went when he was little, but we haven’t been as a family before,” Mrs Pontelandolfo said.

“It’s really good with the eight-month-old, it’s her first Christmas. Nate’s excited about, it he knows what’s going on this year, it’ll be good.”

Donations collected on the night will go to UsherKids Australia, for children suffering from Usher syndrome which causes hearing and vision loss.