While the Launceston Christmas Carols typically mark the end of the year and bring home the enjoyable reality of the festive season, an unavoidable gloom hung heavy at the event on Saturday night.
With just more than two days having past since the Hillcrest tragedy first unfolded, event-goers said they took the night as a chance to hold their family that little bit closer at a time "meant for families".
Half of the donations handed in on the night were set to be donated to the Hillcrest Primary School tragedy, marking a diversion from the usual donations to The Examiner's Empty Stocking Appeal.
And master of ceremonies Jo Palmer conducted a tense and emotional minute of silence before the night's official program got underway.
Natalie and Marcus Byard of Bridgenorth, who attended the carols with their children Adeline, three, Samuel, five, and Ryan, 17, were heading along for the eighth consecutive year.
The night had become a staple of the family's calendar with Mr Byard part of the singing envoy appearing on stage.
But even for carols stalwarts, the overwhelming solemnity was apparent.
Mr Byard said 2021 was the first time they had managed to have all of their family together on the night, and Mrs Byard said that was a focus for them.
"Tonight's a focus on what's important," she said.
Event co-ordinator Sandy Astill said many of the 4000 punters attending, who sold the event out within 90 minutes, would be affected in some way by what had happened on the North-West coast.
"I think [the carols are] probably more important for Tasmanians than they were perhaps last week. I think the most important lesson that we have learnt here is to hug our children, and how important these events and these moments are with our families. And so the carols are more important than probably they've ever been," she said.
That was certainly the case for Summerhill family Belinda and James Rees and children Chloe and Jessica.
Their eldest daughter, Jessica, had just finished Grade 5, like one of the children who died in the tragedy.
Mr Rees said his daughter being the same age meant what unfolded on Thursday had hit even closer to home.
But Saturday night was a change to reflect, and try to make some sort of sense about how to move on.
"Hillcrest is a lesson in perspective," he said. "You've got to make the most of today and whatever opportunities you get with your children."
That was exactly what the Rees's planned to do on Saturday night with their children; to embrace them, hold them, and follow their traditional start to the festive season while finding a away to move on from what had left Tasmania so shattered.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.