“Uh, well, this next one’s probably Australia’s most famous Carol. It seemed logical to the lyricist to pen a Carol set in sunnier climes as he felt most of his country folk couldn’t relate to the snow when it’s 110 outside.”
How wise. And how that sentiment that still rings true.
Seven in the evening and it’s still stifling outside. We head to the relatively cool surrounds of St. Paul’s Cathedral for Carols in the Cathedral starring the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and a host of the great and good of Australian classical music.
It’s a long way from home in every sense of the word and a far cry from the endearingly wonderfully Dibley-esque scenes that pass for Christmas Carols back at St.Mary’s, Salford, Bedfordshire.
The cathedral dates back to 1836, I’ll leave the technical stuff to people who know their religious buildings, and wimp out here with, ‘and is really impressive.’
In fact, I don’t know too much about classical music to feel qualified enough to put together a well-informed critique, so I’ll put ‘really impressive’ for everything here.

Almost halfway through the service, we do get round to Australia’s Carol, Christmas Day. I struggle through it but give it some for O’ Come All Ye Faithful, missing Ed & Kenners’ playful ‘O’ Come’ in the wrong bits and Dad rushing around with chairs, determinedly accommodating all comers for St.Mary’s big night, leaving no pew or space unoccupied (Hello chaps!).
In fact I find myself transported back home as I lull along in a trance like state bought on by the magnificent choir. The readers’ Victorian tones are supplanted by Bedfordshire voices, croaks and coughs. The ornate surroundings are replaced with the humbler, colder, more familiar setting back home. Reverend Hugh is there too directing proceedings, though only in my mind.
The soprano, a Miss Siobhan Stagg, ups the sentiment levels as well as the musicianship through her spellbinding ‘Wiegenlied’ before the choir’s ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ has the audience in raptures.
All in all, it’s been a wonderful evening and I am, once again on this trip, extremely grateful for the goodwill and kindness of others (Thank you very much indeed Gooders!). We head over the road to Federation Square and a post concert beer.

Everything is the same though remarkably different.

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