Keeping the Christmas tradition alive

Karen HuntManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Looking forward to carols by candlelight at Memorial Park Amphitheatre on Sunday are Bridgetown Hospital Auxiliary treasurer Lesley Armfield, front, left, and Jubilee Singers chorister and MC David Bardsley, auxiliary secretary Pauline Sullivan, rear, left, and president Veronica Staples, and Jubilee Singers members Lorraine Harrison, Pauline Thomas, Hilary Bardsley and Terry Harrison.
Camera IconLooking forward to carols by candlelight at Memorial Park Amphitheatre on Sunday are Bridgetown Hospital Auxiliary treasurer Lesley Armfield, front, left, and Jubilee Singers chorister and MC David Bardsley, auxiliary secretary Pauline Sullivan, rear, left, and president Veronica Staples, and Jubilee Singers members Lorraine Harrison, Pauline Thomas, Hilary Bardsley and Terry Harrison. Credit: Karen Hunt

A much-loved Christmas tradition, carol singing will take place in Bridgetown this year in a new, more central location.

The Bridgetown Hospital Auxiliary has organised the community pre-Christmas carols for many years as an open air event in the hospital grounds.

Bad weather last year forced a move to the showgrounds but this year Memorial Park will be the venue – a move which organisers hope will boost numbers.

The Jubilee Singers have assumed greater responsibility for organising the carols this year and choir mistress Rosie Wells said she was pleased with the move.

“Having it in the centre of town is a really good idea,” Rosie said.

“People know that area and it’s a great use of that facility, that little amphitheatre.

“It’s easier to set up as a stage and I think it keeps it in peoples’ consciousness more.”

Hospital patients will not be left out, she said and there would be a special performance on-site.

“We’ll be going up there to do another session,” she promised.

The Jubilees will once again lead the singing, with retired Church of Christ minister David Bardsley a member of the choir assuming the Master of Ceremonies duty.

“It’s the Christmas story in carols and then there will be Father Christmas for the kids,” Rosie said.

Well known favourites such as Silent Night and Away in a Manger are on the program.

There will also be performances from the Blackwood Belles quartet and soloist Sue Bottomley, who will sing “From A Distance”.

The intent is to offer an event in the style of the carols concerts broadcast on television.

“It’s a beautiful opportunity for families to get out and enjoy the evening,” Rosie said.

“It’s a community event this time as much as anything.”

While the auxiliary has an important fundraising role, treasurer Lesley Armfield said the event is free and intended simply as a community celebration.

“It’s our way of thanking the community for their support during the year,” Lesley said.

Singers had previously been asked to make a gold coin donation to cover the cost of candles but a new type of candle was now being used to avoid that charge.

The group’s main source of money remains the noticeboards in town which offer advertising space for a modest fee.

Money raised will go towards equipment which hospital managers have identified as a priority.

“It’s always something that’s on their list.”

Bridgetown’s carols by candlelight will take place at Memorial Park Amphitheatre on Sunday, December 18, from 7pm.

In keeping with the theme of goodwill, there will be a collection of non-perishable food items to be distributed by St Vincent de Paul.

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