At 6.30pm on Sunday 19 December, Coogee Beach will be filled not with hoards of people hoping to enjoy a dip in the waves, but rather with revellers hoping to welcome the festive season.
For nine years, the Coogee Carols have marked a high point in the calendar of carolling events that occur around Sydney. With the combination of beach-front views and the traditional repertoire of Christmas carols, it is not difficult to see why people feel compelled to congergate in the Goldstein Reserve, on Arden Street.
Apart from the carolling, a variety of television and musical stars attend the festivities, all under the preview of Randwick City Council. In 2009, the carols attracted radio presenter Amanda Keler and "All Saints" stars Will Traval and John Howard.
Despite the celebrity sightings, the organisers proudly tout the evening's laid-back and intimate setting, seeking to set itself apart from the candle-lit crowds that gather at the Domain. At the heart of the evening, however, is the music. Song books will be provided on arrival, and previous years have featured performances by musical theatre figures, supported by a 12 piece band.
Nonetheless, as this is a free community event, it is advisable to show up early in order to scout out an ideal location. The event organisers are eager for volunteers, with the appropriate contacts being listed on their website. Volunteering might present the added incentive of finding out who precisely is involved in the celebrity line-up this year.
But, more importantly than the access to information, any money raised by the proceeds from glow sticks and candles will be donated to Killara Women's Refuge in Kingsford. The refuge provides crisis accommodation for women with dependent children escaping domestic violence and provides legal and financial assistance.
While the identity of the guests may remain a mystery, it is possible to find a full list of carols on the Facebook Fan page. This resource may also be useful for people wanting to hear updates on the progress of this year's ninth annual carol event.