Carols in Cairns – from reef to rainforest

The chance to sing Christmas carols on a coral cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef was simply too amazing an opportunity to pass up for internationally recognised performer Andrea Allumay.

Performer Andrea Allumay (centre) with Cairns Deputy Mayor Terry James and Smithfield Shopping Centre Marketing Manager Louise Montafia.The Cairns based, award-winning singer, DJ and actor is one of dozens of local entertainers and performance groups who feature in the Carols in Cairns production, which this year takes the place of the annual Carols by Candlelight event.

To be streamed on Council’s YouTube channel and Facebook page from 6.30pm on Sunday, the feature-length film production follows Santa as he makes his way to the Cairns Performing Arts Centre and host Chris Lloyds, along the way showcasing some of our region’s iconic destinations.

“I have loved being a part of Carols this year! It was an honour to be a part of it and I thought it was an amazing concept when it was first presented to me,” Ms Allumay said.

Ms Allumay performed It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year on Upolo Cay as part of the production, as well as the popular It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be dropped off on Upolo Cay and shoot one of my songs out there amidst the beauty of the reef, sea and sun,” she said.

“I think it’s fantastic that the Council came up with a creative way to hold carols this year, so that it can reach an even greater audience that might not have been able to see it otherwise due to COVID restrictions.

“I was at the pre-screening the other day and I loved watching it! It’s an amazing showcase for our local talent and beautiful postcard for the region and all it has to offer.”

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said it was unfortunate the traditional Carols by Candlelight event could not go ahead this year, but Carols in Cairns allows the whole community to enjoy the event.

“With so many challenges, we are having to do many things a little differently this year, including our annual carols event,” Cr Manning said.

“Given COVID restrictions and all that means, we created this online production so that the whole community could still enjoy carols, while showcasing the diversity of our community’s talent and the beauty of our region.

“Get your family together and watch it on your Smart TV, laptop, or any other device that can access YouTube or Facebook – it is truly a wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable show.

“If you miss the broadcast this Sunday, don’t worry, it will still be available until 10 January to watch, or to share with any family or friends who don’t live in Cairns.”

For those unable to access the live stream, Carols in Cairns will be broadcast at Cazalys, the Hilton Hotel lobby and at the Thirsty Flamingo bar at the Cairns Colonial Club Resort on Sunday; songbooks will be available for attendees.

Traditional Christmas carols dominate this year’s program, along with original pieces – My Prince of Peace, written and arranged by Rubina Kimiia and performed by Voices of AustraNesia, and Spirit of Christmas, written and performed by 17-year-old John Land.

There is also an entertaining rap version of another classic.

Some of the other performances include:

  • Filipinos Cairns Community Choir at Botanic Gardens
  • Cairns Swing Ray Dancers at Palm Cove jetty
  • Fingerprint Trio at Lake Morris/Copperlode Falls Dam
  • Dancescapes, The June Vale Dancers at Gordonvale
  • The Jazzuleles at Munro Martin Parklands
  • Cairns Young Voices at Cairns Performing Arts Centre

Major sponsor Smithfield Shopping Centre printed 5000 songbooks, which are available from the shopping centre and Cairns Libraries. An electronic copy of the songbook is also available for download Council’s website.

John Cooper, Centre Manager of Smithfield Shopping Centre, said it was exciting to collaborate with Council to be part of this inaugural event.

“We hope that Carols in Cairns will add to the festivities and reach even more people in our community,” he said

“Coinciding with the launch, we have planned a host of free Christmas themed events at Smithfield Shopping Centre, which are sure to delight everyone in the family.”

As part of the production, Santa will also make a stop to turn on the lights at Council’s Christmas Tree, now located in Shields Street, at about 6.40pm, and he will invite the rest of Cairns to do the same at their homes.

To get a sneak peek at what people can expect, a trailer has been uploaded onto the Council YouTube channel.

To watch the trailer and Sunday’s broadcast, visit Council’s YouTube channel, Facebook page, or click through from the Council website.

Carols in Cairns was made possible thanks to sponsorship from Bendigo Bank and NQ Engineering and Fabrication, in kind support from venues and locations used in the production, along with contributions from media partner Triple M.

Watch the Carols in Cairns trailer at:

/Public Release. View in full here.