The final Community Christmas Concert in the traditional format was a resounding success. The weather on Sunday 2 December was temperate, and more families than ever poured into Refinery Square. FABBA sang and danced to the delight of the early audience; Pyrmont Sings! and the Pyrmont Kids’ Choir maintained the excitement: children listened to the Christmas story and grasped the opportunity to advise Santa on their needs; and the Northside Concert Band brought the concert to a close with a rousing account of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. Abundant food and drink were provided by the Blue Eye Dragon, the Pyrmont Community Bank, the Mens’ Shed and the Salvos.
The Concert is the climax of several months of fundraising, which this year broke all records. Sponsors provided $31,800 (and some exceptional prizes for the raffle), the raffle raised $6,080, Market Day added $2,669, sales of food raised $3960, the silent auction $1660 and glowstix another $775. After covering expenses, $40,000 was distributed to 3 charities – the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, the Salvation Army and Pyrmont Cares.
It is not possible to quantify gifts in kind, contributed through collection boxes in Jacksons Landing and elsewhere, and donated on the evening of the concert: but many car loads of food, toys and other gifts were ferried to the Harris Centre for distribution to local people less fortunate than ourselves; and the audience gave generously to the Salvos on the night.
At the beginning of the year the organisers explained that this would be their last concert. That decision stands. On Saturday 1st the weather was too hot for an open air concert; on Monday 3rd it was too wet. We were fortunate (or perhaps blessed) by cool weather on the day, and we cannot rely on such good fortune. Whatever the weather, a concert in Refinery Square consumes many hours of volunteer labour to build (and dismantle) a stage, to install (and remove) power, to equip the Station to accommodate a visiting band, and to put up (and pack up) tables, chairs and tents. Hiring the stage and sound system costs $7000, and by the time the brass band played, most children had spoken to Santa and most families had gone home.
Jacksons Landing and Pyrmont have grown so much that a very different format is now possible, and desirable. All ideas on the subject, and all offers of help, are most welcome, and can be sent to Mary Mortimer until a new committee coalesces.