Evergreen Christmas carols at Gleniffer Brae

Christmas carols will return to Wollongong this year, with the sweeping lawns of Gleniffer Brae to host the festive celebration later this month.

Launching the event on Friday, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the ‘‘natural amphitheatre’’ of the botanic gardens would be the perfect setting for the December 21 Wollongong Christmas Carols.

‘‘People often don’t see how beautiful this area is,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

‘‘The botanic gardens are one of our greatest assets and it’s a great area to showcase some of the best music ever written.’’

Set against the backdrop of the city skyline and ocean visible from the Gleniffer Brae house, the event is expected to draw a crowd of 5000 or more. Ensembles including the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, the Illawarra Choral Society and the Wollongong Brass Band will run through a set of Christmas staples – Silent Night, Away In A Manger, The First Noel – as well as other family favourites.

‘‘Carols are one of the great traditions of Christmas and it’s fantastic that we can do it in the gardens,’’ said Luke Tierney, acting chief executive of the conservatorium.

‘‘It’s a rare chance for the whole music community and various ensembles to come together and share with the community. It’s huge exposure for our young groups.’’

While the songs will be traditional, the event will be getting a 21st century update – instead of the conventional candles, carollers will be encouraged to purchase special LED candles on the night, with proceeds to benefit the Friends of the Wollongong Botanic Garden group.

‘‘Kids and candles aren’t always a good combination. That’s why we’re asking people to go for the safer option,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

Wollongong City Council are asking carollers to pre-register to assist in organisation.

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