Canberrans in tune with carol spirit
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Canberrans in tune with carol spirit

Cool temperatures hovering around the mid-teens did not deter Canberrans from getting into the Christmas spirit last night.

About 6000 Canberrans, most with scarves, rugs and blankets, gathered in Commonwealth Park for the 67th Carols by Candlelight.

Canberrans in tune with carol spirit

Canberrans in tune with carol spirit

GALLERY: More photos from carols by candlelight

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Canberrans in tune with carol spirit

Canberrans in tune with carol spirit

Carols resounded from stage 88 as family and friends enjoyed picnic dinners and sung along to Christmas favourites such as Away in a Manger, Good King Wenceslas? Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and Silent Night.

MC Ian McLean, who has been participating in the event for about 10 years, said he volunteered year after year to give back to the community.

''There's only one community carols event that has been running longer than this one,'' Mr McLean said.

''It's one of those lovely occasions where everybody gives something and a lot of joy comes from that.

Canberrans in tune with carol spirit

Canberrans in tune with carol spirit

''The choir, bands and artists give their time and charities benefit from it.''

The carols were led by the Woden Valley Youth Choir, the Canberra City Band and this year's guest artists Peter Cousens, known for being the only Australian to play the role of the phantom in London's West End production of The Phantom of the Opera, and seasoned performer Rachel Thoms.

Mr McLean said, ''Rachel is rather unique in that she's got two music degrees - one as a classical singer and one as a jazz singer.''

They performed for the first time to a group of about 30 people who were hearing impaired.

''Thank you for allowing the Auslan interpreters and Auslan students to interpret the evening to let the Canberra and regional deaf community share in this event,'' one woman said on the event's Facebook page.

For a group of eight friends in Christmas hats the evening was about getting in the Christmas spirit and celebrating their friendship.

Nicole Townsend said, ''It's the first time we've been to the carols together.

''We're looking forward to singing Silent Night because we know the words!''

Volunteers were selling carol sheets and candles last night to raise money for Autism Asperger ACT.