I was a Xmas songbird

by | Dec 18, 2013 | Uncategorized | 9 comments

Franklin Rd in Ponsonby is a long sloping through-route. In summer the trees arch over the whole road creating a spacious tunnel. I always love driving up this avenue.

 Over the last 19 years, Franklin Rd has gathered a special reputation. First a few people began lighting up their houses for Xmas. Then others joined in, and still others, until the whole street has become a spectacle, with nearly every house being decorated with coloured lights.

 Some of the displays have become more elaborate as the years have passed by,

 or naughtier. This Santa bares his bottom from time to time with a Xmas message.

The verandas, roofs, doorways, fences, and even the palm trees are festooned with lights.

 And as darkness approaches, family groups, couples, old people and young begin the night time promenade up and down both sides of the road. Cars drive by slowly and cameras click wildly. This Santa is lapping up all the attention.

 And The Voice Club gathers at one of the illumined houses, the house of the choir-master. For this is the annual wind-up of a year’s singing in a community choir. Our big end of year concert takes place a week earlier. This year we sang to 250 people and raised between $2-3,000 to help low decile schools with their music.

 So often, because funding is tight, poorer schools have to choose between books and musical instruments. It’s a hard choice, and the books usually win. This year, for two schools, books and music both won. The work of dedicated music teachers will now be supported by the right equipment. One school will have enough money to buy a set of African drums,

 and the other school can buy 25 ukeleles, enabling a whole class to play and sing together.

 Over the five years that I’ve been singing with the Voice Club, we have raised nearly $20,000 for good causes.

 Our music is superb, and people go away from our concerts with big smiles on their faces.

We finish the year by gathering out on the street and singing for the passersby. Our tunes are catchy, with quirky rhythms and fun harmonies. We throw in a few Christmas songs as well. Being a Xmas songbird is the best way to go into the festive season with sparkling eyes and a humming heart. We too were lit up, just like the houses on Franklin Rd.


  1. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – Franklin Street is just stunning and I agree driving through tunnels of new growth from trees is something I love in the Spring and early Summer.

    Wonderful you’ve raised so much through your concerts and been able to help the children with their music as well as their books ..

    Cheers – a cheering read for a gloomy day! Hilary

  2. Juliet Batten

    * Hilary, it’s been so satisfying to help children with their music, and to have so much fun singing at the same time. Yes, Franklin Rd is beautiful now that the trees are so mature.
    Thanks for visiting, glad it cheered you. on the other side of the world.

  3. silkannthreades

    How wonderful. I can feel all the good vibes way down here. Happy Singing always and I am so pleased for the young ones who will have both music and books because of your love of song.

  4. Hotly Spiced

    I love these streets where everyone gets into the swing of things and decorates their homes.
    The homes look so festive and pretty. And I would love to have carollers turn up at my home and sing carols to me – how special! xx

  5. Penny O'Neill

    As you might well imagine, this type of story warms my soul (and bones, here up north). The joy of singing, coupled with the joy of giving to children the gift of music, is a twice given gift, Juliet, and that is a hearty sum of money your small group had donated by lifting your hearts and spirits in song.

    My heart sings this morning with your words, Juliet.

  6. Terry and Linda

    How much fun! I love the warmth mixed with Christmas…it makes me feel happy!

    ¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪Merry Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

  7. Juliet Batten

    * silkannthreades, it’s such a joy to think of the children having good new instruments to play.

    * Charlie, I’m sure you would have some great food to offer the singers if they turned up at your house.

    * Penny, so glad to send happy singing into your cold season. A ‘twice-given gift’: you put it so perfectly.

    * Linda, I’m glad the post brought you happiness and warmth.

    Thank you, silkannthreades, Charlie, Penny and Linda, so nice to have you visit and comment.

  8. Vicki Lane

    What a wonderful way to celebrate the season and help out those music teachers! I can almost hear your voices ringing out!

  9. Juliet Batten

    * Vicki, it was such a joy, and very satisfying.


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