COVID-19 has been the reason for many cancellations of events throughout Southland, but Christmas is not one of them.
That was the feeling of the ILT Christmas Variety Show producers.
One of the most traditional Christmas events in Invercargill is set to hit the stage next Tuesday, with more than 200 performers, live music and plenty of festive spirit.
ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said there were many uncertainties about the pandemic and traffic light system which had caused apprehension for organisers.
But since Southland was in Orange, they could go ahead with the event.
“ILT Stadium Southland is the home of Christmas with our Christmas Tree Festival, Merry Little Christmas Concert and the variety show. It needed to go ahead. It is our way to give something back to the community,” Mr Skelt said.
Co-producer and choreographer Jordan Skelt agreed.
“Covid may have cancelled a lot of events, but it can’t cancel Christmas.”
The response and support from the community had been overwhelming.
Mr Skelt said this year had seen the biggest number of auditions for the Rising Star choir ever, with dozens of children auditioning to be part of the show in October.
“The auditions uncovered some outstanding new talent.
“The quality was so good that we had to make two groups of Rising Stars – each one with 17 children, aged from 7 upwards.
“Many of them never have been on a stage before, which is quite exciting.”
Mr Skelt said this year’s show would also celebrate cultural diversity throughout the region.
Kapa haka, sign language, hip-hop and many, many other surprises were expected, he said.
On Sunday, the stadium would host the Merry Little Christmas Concert for the young tamariki of the community.
“It has something for everyone.
“I’m proud of what the team has achieved and looking forward to see the talents on the stage, bringing the Christmas cheer to the community.”
- Merry Little Christmas Concert, Sunday, 11am, and ILT Christmas Variety Show, Tuesday, 6.30pm, both at ILT Stadium Southland. Tickets available via Ticketek or at the stadium reception.