Port Macquarie-Hastings region's community Christmas countdown celebration goes online

Bells toll: Region's community Christmas countdown celebration goes online

THERE will not be a street parade or a countdown to the lighting of the town Christmas tree, but a special event has been planned to bring Port Macquarie-Hastings into the festive season.

Gather the family on December 5 to celebrate as a community the challenges faced this year, our resilience and the opportunities that await.

With the help of the region's talented performing artists, passionate locals and some special guests, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is bringing the community a COVID-safe virtual Christmas event, The Christmas Bell - a moment for us all.

The community is being encouraged to come together to experience an amazing online production that says thank you to the community with a collection of performances and entertainment featuring talented locals.

Mayor Peta Pinson said the community has not had the opportunity to come together to show gratitude, celebrate the region's resilience and reflect on a year that has been like no other.

Take a sneak peek at The Christmas Bell

"While we're not able to enjoy our traditional Countdown to Christmas event this year, we are excited to give our community something special, creative and new," Cr Pinson said.

"What a wonderful opportunity for us all to gather safely in small groups with friends and loved-ones and take a moment to reflect on the challenges and successes of the year that's been."

Local singer/songwriter and performer, Rose Wilson said The Christmas Bell is a beautiful and unique project.

"It showcases wonderful local talent and a unifying and uplifting vision of celebrating and enjoying the places and stories which connect us all," Ms Wilson said.

"It offers some of the most genuine and heartfelt Christmas magic I've ever encountered, and I am delighted to be involved, and can't wait for this glorious and collaborative work to be shared with our community."

Local pianist and performer Fiona Hawkins says music is a gift communicating to inspire and give hope.

"Music is a universal language that connects us without prejudice and speaks to us all equally," Ms Hawkins said.

"It's an honour to be asked to be a part of this wonderful project at a time when family, friends and community matter most - Christmas time."

Talented local artist, David Brooker created The Christmas Bell image and artwork for the event, which is based on an original photograph taken by a local Rural Fire Service volunteer after the 2019 bushfires around Lake Cathie.

The photograph was then beautifully drawn by David and created into artwork.

The Christmas Bell - A moment for us all is funded by federal Bushfire Disaster Recovery Grant, with council partnering with Got Ya Back Productions to create the extravaganza.

The program will include professional performances by local artists including Fiona Hawkins a Kendall based pianist, composer and singer. Her song Grace featured on a Grammy award-winning album in 2014.

Phil Jamieson, front man, lead singer and guitarist of ARIA award-winning rock band, Grinspoon; and Blake O'Connor, 2019 Toyota Star Maker and Golden Guitar winner will also perform during the online community event.

The event will include a lighting of the Christmas tree and unveiling of gratitude murals recently painted by local artists.

"We're really encouraging everyone to settle in with friends and loved ones at home, say thank you, and celebrate what it means to be part of this wonderful community," Cr Pinson said.

The Christmas Bell will be streamed live on council's Facebook page and YouTube channel on Saturday, December 5 from 7pm-8pm.

If you're unable to tune in on the night, the production will be available on council's website until January 11, 2021.

While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.