a century of spreading Christmas cheer was celebrated in
Dunedin last night.
The Dunedin Operatic Carol Singers began its 50th season of
carolling and, remarkably, with an original member still in
''We still sing pretty much the same things we did 50 years
ago,'' founding member Charles Campbell, who proudly admits
to being ''73'', said yesterday.
''I've kept going all these years because I really enjoy it.
It's about fun and sharing the Christmas spirit. We just go
around different homes and sing our hearts and souls out.''
The group was conceived in 1964 by his brother and former
Dunedin professional opera singer Colin Campbell.
''I'm really thrilled to know that they are still doing
this,'' Colin said from Auckland yesterday.
''It is great to think that from that spark of an idea, after
50 years this group is still giving pleasure to others less
''We had a vibrant social group that made its own fun. It
seemed that every second weekend there was a party at
someone's house and, inevitably, we would sing our favourite
show songs around the piano,'' Colin Campbell recalled.
''The idea was eventually mooted that as we sing a lot for
our own pleasure why not do this for the pleasure of others
Dunedin Operatic Carol Singers members over the years have
read like a who's who of Dunedin musical theatre, including
Mona Semke, Boyd Craig, Les Goatham, Graham Clarkson, Pat
Sheridan and philanthropist Les Cleveland, who died in May
''Les Cleveland was a founding member and he would also have
marked 50 years this year,'' Charles Campbell said. The group
started its 2013 season at the New Zealand Foundation of the
Blind last night.
''We don't really see each other from one Christmas to the
next. This is our first rehearsal,'' a member for 42 years,
Maureen Williamson, said.
''It's pretty amazing, considering it all started late one
night after a boozy party, 50 years ago ...''