Organising a NZ Carol Programme :
a few tips
1. Start planning early. Get your date fixed well ahead (at least 6 months ahead).
2. Make it an ecumenically planned occasion, which can be put on annually at a different church.
3. Choose a weeknight evening to avoid clashes with Sunday services.
4. Aim to have every carol a NZ one: there are 52 in Carol our Christmas, and new ones in Hope is our Song.
5. Make early contact with your local Media. You will find a genuine interest in this story, as NZ carols are something few knew existed, and even fewer have ever sung!
6. Take out one prominent advertisement in your local paper. (A nice way of saying "thank you" for the free publicity they will give you before the event, and the photograph/story after the event - well, at least one of these!)
7. Prepare an imaginative liturgy, using NZ poems and prose readings, soloists, choir items, instrumentalists, fauna and flora arrangements, dancers, bellringers, and Power Point visuals - not to forget the Christmas Biblical story. The traditional - lessons and carols - formula offers a template you can creatively adapt for the NZ carols. Do remember the power of STORY and arrange/tell the nativity/incarnation events making full use of the added eloquence and passion our NZ carol writers bring to a "down under", "down to earth", summer time, and 21st century STORY. The words (the THEOLOGY) of the Kiwi carols tell it ALL!
8. Invite creative people from all churches and from outside the churches. Instrumental teachers might be able to help find a good accompanist, the local theatre group can help find strong readers. Local choirs and dance troupes will welcome an audience.
9. Don't make it too long, though time will fly if the programme has variety in it. Ten carols sung collectively, plus the individuals items, will fill up one hour and a quarter. Follow the event with a cuppa.
10. Have a koha/donation towards expenses. The main ones will be preparing a photocopied handout of carols to be sung - unless you use OHPs or PP - and the advertisement.
11. If you photocopy the carols your parish copyright scheme ensures permission to use the material.
Give full acknowledgement to writer of words and music for each carol, and its source and publisher (e.g. Carol our Christmas, NZ Hymnbook Trust).
12. To >give a strong lead to the singing - many will be meeting and singing these carols for the first time - have an ad hoc "singing group" meet before hand to go over the carols to be sung. (This group need not be confined to choir members, but open to all). Most of the singing will stick to the tune, but the "singing group" could prepare a carol sung in parts.
13. The number is quite incidental! Should ecumenical cooperation be difficult, and genuine efforts have been made but failed to achieve this, one church can go ahead and offer a NZ carol event. But the ecumenical endeavour is the way to go!
Final Note: The NZ Hymnbook Trust would consider making a financial contribution towards costs, subject to evidence given of good local planning.
Contact John/Gillian regarding this, and any other issues around your planning such an event: email
PS Publicise your event and write a report on your event for the NZHBT Website Noticeboard.
19 December 2009