Excited children join 7000 in night of carols

LAUNCESTON'S Edward Bigham, 4, and his brother Lewis, 2, had never seen Santa until last night.

They had also never been to Launceston's Carols by Candlelight and had only just learnt their first Christmas carol, Jingle Bells, a few weeks ago.

``I learnt it at play centre,'' Edward said.

``I taught him (Lewis) the song, it starts with dashing through the snow.''

Luckily, it wasn't snowing in Launceston's City Park last night and instead Lewis and Edward were able to sing Jingle Bells in the sunshine alongside more than 7000 others.

Carols by Candlelight had been a much anticipated event, after initial fears earlier this year it would not happen.

However, the Rotary Club of Tamar Sunrise with the help of Vos Constructions worked their magic to put on a spectacular last night.

The event began with the Ross Challendar Big Band and the St Andrews Caledonian Pipe Band parading their way through the crowd from the band rotunda to a newly located open air stage next to the John Hart Conservatory.

Northern Tasmanian singers Travis Hennessey, Alex Thompson, Natalie Reid, Jade Howard, Rachel Doherty, Mikaela Campbell and Cassie Szabo started the official carols with an acapella God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen that got your spine tingling.

A groaning noise soon caught the kids attention about 8pm as Santa circled the park on a three-wheeled Harley-Davidson motorcycle before taking the stage to sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Jingle Bells.

But Santa couldn't stay long.

``I've got a lot of letters to read when I go home tonight, but I hope we can look after the children (with presents),'' he said.

By 9pm the park was glowing with candles as many children feel asleep under their blankets.

Former The Voice contestant Juliane Di Sisto and Australia's Got Talent finalist Reuben Koops headlined the carols.

Event co-ordinator Danny Gibson said the night had been an ``overwhelming success''.

``The line-up has been outstanding and the crowds well behaved,'' Gibson said.

``We have a few refinements to do but it's been a great first year for the Rotary Club of Tamar Sunrise.''

Mr Gibson said the event would happen again next year.

All money raised will be donated to The Examiner's Empty Stocking Appeal.

Money will be counted early this week.

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