Williamstown resident Doug Heywood is rehearsing for his 30th year conducting Vision Australia’s Carols By Candlelight on Christmas eve.
This year also marks the event’s 80th anniversary.
“You always get an adrenalin rush, it doesn’t matter how many times you do it,” Mr Heywood said.
“I’ve conducted the whole Messiah, countless times. It’s a fantastic piece of music; this year will be the 250th year since it was written.”
Mr Heywood said the first rehearsal with 228 choristers was held on Saturday.
“The first rehearsal, where some of them haven’t seen each other for 12 months since the last carols, is like a family get-together,” he said.
“It is like a big 230-voice family.”
Then there will be four piano rehearsals and two rehearsals at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl where the show will be held.
Mr Heywood was hard-pressed to name his favourite carol, but said the The Twelve Days of Christmas was “a beauty”.
“It’s a lot of fun and a great piece of writing.”
This year’s event will be hosted by Today Extra hosts Sonia Kruger and David Campbell, with a star-studded lineup including Anthony Callea, Tim Campbell, Marina Prior, Silvie Paladino, David Hobson and Denis Walter.
More than 2.3million viewers across Australia tuned in to watch the carols on Channel Nine last year. It’s Vision Australia’s biggest fundraiser with 100 per cent of profits from ticket sales going towards services for children who are blind or have low vision.
Last year, more than $1.2 million was raised.