Villa Maria wine bottle

Top food and drinks at our Christmas…

As Carols by Candlelight approaches, we’d like to highlight some of the excellent food providers who are supporting us in 2018. Keep an eye out for these delicious delectations, and so many more, at the Christmas Festival!   Villa Maria Wine Garden For the fourth year in a row. Villa Maria is the highest ranking New Zealand winery in this year’s “World’s Most Admired Wine Brands” list. Said Sir George Fistonich, founder and president of Villa Maria Estate, “being named as the most admired wine brand in New Zealand four years in a row is testament to the level of quality our wines consistently deliver and shows we exceed in all the award criteria. It’s such amazing recognition for Villa Maria and I’m incredibly proud that we continue to rate the highest New Zealand winery on this most prestigious of lists.” A leader in sustainability, innovation and quality, Villa Maria is a family owned winery recognised as an icon in the New Zealand wine industry, and their travelling wine truck will be present at Carols by Candlelight 2018 for you to sample this incredible wine!   Barista coffee by Brewtech Brewtech is an industry leader in the Melbourne specialty coffee market, a coffee-loving team who supply premium equipment, sales and servicing to many of Melbourne's best cafes, restaurants and coffee roasters. Brewtech is very proud to be supporting Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight in 2018. This year Brewtech is also providing coffee for all our staff and performers, giving them the buzz and the energy they need to provide and support such quality entertainment!   Goldeluck’s Doughnuts Goldeluck’s Doughnuts was established in 2018 by Phillip Kuoch. Since their humble beginnings, they have served more than 350,000 customers and regularly been featured as one of the best doughnut shops in Melbourne by publications such as the Herald Sun and Concrete Playground. With stores in Croydon South and Eastland, Goldeluck’s is notorious for its innovative, award-winning doughnuts which not only taste great but look amazing! Goldeluck’s delicious doughnuts are totally unique, and we’re thrilled to have them join us this year for Carols by Candlelight. This year they will be teaming up with Vision Australia Radio, and together their stall will share the great services that Vision Australia’s audio team provide to the community while Goldeluck’s will be selling their world famous doughnuts with all proceeds going towards the 4x Brighter Appeal.   19 Dec 2018
Two people dressed as Christmas presents

What to bring and what to leave at home

Carols by Candlelight 2018 is almost here! Hopefully you have booked your tickets and started making plans for a night of celebration and song. To help you have the best night possible we’ve put together a short list of what to bring, and what things are best left at home.   What to bring: Your copy or copies of the Carols by Candlelight Songbook, available in the Herald Sun or from our website  Comfortable clothing appropriate to the weather, including hats and sunnies for sun safety in the afternoon, and rain-jackets or ponchos in case of rain! Collapsible prams are also welcome, although these must be cloaked when you arrive Picnics are welcome in appropriate containers (see below), along with your picnic blankets There are ATMs available on site, but bringing some cash is recommended for easier, quicker purchase of beverages and other items Your loudest proudest singing voice and lots of Christmas cheer!   What to leave at home: BYO Alcohol or any glass containers are not permitted at this event! Best to purchase beverages on-site Guns, fireworks, drones and other dangerous items are obvious no-nos! Please don’t bring wax candles; electronic ones will be available for purchase at the event, with all of the proceeds supporting kids who are blind or have low vision Please don’t bring any metal knives, including cheese knives For a better viewing experience for your fellow audience members, please leave behind any portable seating higher than 20cm off the ground, including hard eskies that could be used as a seat. This also goes for tables, tents and sun shelters inside the venue. No pets please; assistance animals only are permitted Pointy umbrellas can be a danger and a viewing obstacle to those behind you, so please leave them at home or try to bring an umbrella without a sharp end. If the weather looks poor, bring raincoats or ponchos We ask that you don’t bring any glow sticks, laser pointers, selfie sticks or professional cameras (phone cameras are okay!)   Please note that bag checks will take place at the gate and prohibited items may be refused or confiscated. We’re looking forward to seeing you all at Carols by Candlelight and we hope you have a fantastic time with your friends and family. Don’t forget to share your photos with the hashtags #carolsbycandlelight and #4xbrighter! 13 Dec 2018
Birdseye image of Nutella doughnuts

The sweetest thing

Goldelucks Doughnuts is proud to be supporting this year’s 4 x Brighter Campaign, helping kids who are blind or have low vision to live the life they choose. This year we will be teaming up with Vision Australia Radio, and together we will have a stall that shares the great services that Vision Australia’s audio team provide to the community whilst we at Goldeluck’s will be selling our world-famous donuts on the night with all profits going towards the campaign.   Doughnut Chief & Creative Director Phillip Kuoch says “Vision Australia provide a wonderful and much needed support to kids who need it, running programs from blind sports, to the Feelix readers that allow children to read like their sighted peers, we’re proud to be doing our bit by being at the event and giving something back, whilst keeping hungry tummies satisfied with our delicious range of unique doughnuts.”   Conrad Browne, Vision Australia Radio and Audio Services Manager, says: “This will be the largest presence Vision Australia Radio will have had at the Carols, it’s a great opportunity for us to reach out to our audience who may be at the event so they can come and say hi, educate others in the services we provide, and spend two big days with the crew at Goldeluck’s that are giving so much. Look out for us at the Christmas Festival!”   Goldeluck's Doughnuts is now delivering doughnut gift boxes to ALL metro Melbourne suburbs and you can order for Christmas delivery now and get $20 off your first order. Just jump to and use ‘VisionAustralia’ at checkout. T&C’s apply - see website for details. Offer ends on Christmas Day 11:59PM.   05 Dec 2018
4-yr-old Alfie sits at the playground

A story of hope and determination

“I stared intently into my second baby Alfie’s eyes, desperately trying to remember if it was something I’d seen before. ‘I’m being silly,’ I told myself and picked him up again, his warm face resting up against mine.” “It was a few weeks later I was looking adoringly into those same eyes when I saw it again, his eyes were constantly ‘flickering’. It was no longer a surprise as I was noticing it all the time now.” Diana Fisk, mother to William (6) and Alfie (4) recalls her first few months with Alfie with a heavy heart but, as Alfie prepares for kinder next year, she and husband Rob have a new determination and a positive outlook on the amazing things that Alfie will be able to achieve. After Alfie was diagnosed with Nystagmus – a condition of involuntary (or voluntary, in rare cases) eye movement, that may result in reduced or limited vision – there were tears, but surprisingly, through those tears came something different. “This challenge could shape him in 
a way we never could have imagined.” The sadness and fear started shifting for Diana and her husband Rob as they realised that along with this diagnosis there was the hope of something new. They decided not to think about the limitations and focus on empowering Alfie. “We now understood the challenge that had been dealt to our little boy,” Rob says. They made a decision right there and then that they would take his lead on the life he would live. He would literally be viewing the world in a different way, and they could only imagine what he would be capable of with that unique perspective. To help accomplish that, the family reached out to Vision Australia, firstly to get support and helpful information via its website and more recently to help to prepare Alfie for his first big milestone – going to kinder next year. Alfie’s Vision Australia specialist Sue, will visit Alfie at home regularly and will also go along to the kinder with the family to talk to the staff, explore the school and visit the classroom to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible for Alfie. “He can’t see things in the distance, so Sue and the teaching staff will also ensure he has a front-row seat in the classroom!,” Diana adds. And, the Vision Australia team will be there for Alfie, as he discovers his personal challenges. Support varies, from orientation and mobility training, provision of Feelix library kits, his education and even helping with employment. “It’s amazing to have such expertise available to ensure that Alfie is able to fulfil any dream that he may have growing up,” says Diana as she reaches out to the Australian community. “With your help to support Vision Australia, fears can be replaced by determination, by pride and by hope.”   Alfie with Louise from the Feelix Library  “We now 
the challenge that had been dealt to our 
little boy.” 29 Nov 2018
Hi-5 perform at Carols

10 of the Best Carols to Sing By…

  Christmas Carols have been around almost as long as the Christian music tradition - around 1600 years! For the last 80 years we have been celebrating the best and most popular songs written to celebrate this special time of year, and in 2018 you are sure to hear some of your favourites. Here are ten of Australia’s most beloved Christmas Carols. Deck the Halls The melody for this popular Welsh carol dates all the way back to the sixteenth century, although the English words as we know them today appeared in 1877. Believe it or not, this carol is where the phrase ‘tis the season’ originated, and remains popular among carol lovers young and old alike, despite some of the arguably silly lyrics. Fa la la la la, la la la la! Hark the Herald Angels Sing Denis Walter, Marina Prior and Debra Bryne have all nailed this traditional English carol in the history of Carols by Candlelight. The original version from 1739 was much slower and somber than how we are used to hearing it today! The modern tune is based on a work called Festgesang by popular composer Felix Mendelssohn, and is an extremely popular song included in almost all carols performances. We love the soaring soprano descant in the last verse. O Come All Ye Faithful The earliest version of this carol dates back to the early 1600s, and no one really knows who composed the original. The full version has NINE verses, though we usually only hear the first four. The popular arrangement that we all recognise, by composer David Willcocks, was published in 1961. Everyone loves singing along particularly in the chorus where the words ‘oh come let us adore him’ get louder and louder as we sing out with joy! Our favourite performance has to be from 2014 when Marina Prior and David Hobson knocked it out of the Bowl! O Holy Night O Holy Night is a 19th Century French carol popularised in the 1990s and early 2000s by singers such as Mariah Carey, Josh Groban, Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, and is almost always performed by a soloist. It is a celebration of light and hope with a range that would challenge even a professional singer. Silvie Paladino belts this one out like a champ! Silent Night One of the more recent traditional carols, Silent Night was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber, and performed for the first time in a small Austrian town called Obendorf. Since then, the song has become one of the most popular carols among people all over the world. The 1935 version recorded by American singer and actor Bing Crosby is the third most best selling single of all time! We Wish You a Merry Christmas The origin of this Christmas carol lies in the English tradition where wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve. ‘Figgy pudding’ as described in the song is similar to our modern-day Christmas puddings. Written in 1935, this song with its simple, memorable lyrics now has many different versions and is one of the most popular Christmas songs sung by children all around the world. Ding Dong Merrily on High We love this joyful carol for the melodic refrain, “Glooo-or-or-or-or-or-oooor-or-or-or-or-or-oooor-ia!”, imitating the sound of church bells tolling out the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The tune to this carol is another early music piece dating from the 1500s, while the lyrics, first published in 1924, are practically modern. This song, with its intricate harmonies, is often performed by the choir at Carols By Candlelight - time for them to shine! Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Rudolph’s song was written in 1949 by Johnny Marks, the brother-in-law of Rudolph’s original creator, Robert L. May. Since then it has been performed and recorded by various popular artists such as Bing Crosby and Michael Buble. While some might call it a song just for children, we know that kids and adults alike continue to love Rudolph’s performance every year at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl! Joy to the World Joy to the World was the most-published Christmas hymn in North America throughout the 20th Century. It has appeared on perhaps more Christmas albums by solo artists than any other song, having been recorded by Andy Williams, the Supremes, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Cash, Nat King Cole, Neil Diamond, Pat Boone, Perry Como, Vic Damone, Mariah Carey and the acapella group Pentatonix, as well as many more. Sing along to it this year and feel the joy!    10.  All I Want for Christmas Is You Can you believe this song was first performed in 1994? Perhaps the most popular Christmas song of modern times, Mariah Carey’s bopping R&B number describes the need we all feel to be with our families at Christmas as more important than any gifts we could receive. Dami Im stunned everyone in 2016 with her incredible rendition at Carols by Candlelight.   Dami Im performed in 2016 27 Nov 2018
Three Vision Australia volunteers strike a pose

The heart and soul of our community

“If we didn’t go to Carols, it would be like there wasn’t any Christmas” – Paul Worsnop, Volunteer The Worsnops are a family with a wealth of spirit, nurtured by boundless generosity.  They give because they want to, and they expect nothing in return.  Volunteers like these are the heart and soul of our community. Lifelong volunteer, Paul Worsnop, is a catalyst of continuing the family tradition of volunteering at Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight.  This year, Paul and his older brother Christopher will celebrate 45 years since the Worsnop family took over the running of one of the merchandise stalls, with their parents and grandmother.    Left to right: James, Pete Smith, Paul, Christopher, Samuel, John, Sandy, Katherine, Nathan    The Worsnop team now consists of 10 volunteers ranging in age from 60 years to 12 months old, comprising children, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews and grandchildren, so the team always has plenty of support. “It’s part of our upbringing, and as we get older, we continue to encourage the younger generation to pay it forward.” “The gift that Vision Australia has given to Melbourne and Australia over the years, is returned not only by the generous giving to the cause of Vision Australia, but the community’s growing understanding of what it means to be blind or have low vision,” adds Paul. Incredible volunteers like the Worsnops are so vital in bringing the event to life, and we can’t thank them enough! 09 Nov 2018
Audio description volunteers work in a booth overlooking an arena

Carols like you’ve never heard it…

The Vision Australia Radio Network is once again proudly supporting Carols by Candlelight in 2018. Incorporating ten community radio stations across Victoria, southern New South Wales, Adelaide and Perth, as well as five digital radio services, VAR has a range of wonderful content across a range of interesting and informative programs. Each year the audio described version of Carols by Candlelight is streamed online and broadcast live across the Vision Australia Radio Network, but did you know it’s also available for attendees at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl? Audio description offers people who are blind or have low vision an understanding of what is happening visually within a theatre, television, film, DVD, museum, exhibition or other arts-related productions. It is an additional narration that succinctly paints an image of transitions, movements, gestures, props, settings, costumes and scenery woven between the dialogue. We can’t wait to tune in to the upcoming Carols by Candlelight feature episodes, as well as the remarkable experience that is audio description. Whether you’re listening from home, at the event, or on-the-go, Vision Australia Radio is the perfect way to bring an audio experience of Carols to life, with all of the magic of the stage verbally described by a team of experts so you won’t miss a moment of the spectacle. Interested in making the most of the fantastic offering, as well as accessing an exclusive VIP experience? Register your interest in audio description by entering your details here. 09 Nov 2018