71st Annual Gift To The Town (New Photos Added)

Every year since 1940, the Staples High School music department has offered the Candlelight Concert to the town.

This weekend, several hundred teenagers — and instructors Adele Cutrali-Valovich, Nick Mariconda and Justin Miller — provided the gift of music to 3 wildly appreciative audiences.

The program included solemn hymns, classical music, a rousing African number, whimsical tunes — and of course, a production number.

In everyone’s thoughts were Nava Zeevi, the longtime accompanist whose husband Kuti was killed in a robbery Thursday night. Todd Simmons, assistant director of the Westport School of Music, stepped in to take her place.

Solomon Sloat (top) and Will Bitsky in the traditional "Sing We Noel" processional. (Photos by Lynn U. Miller)

Senior Mike Ljungberg provides the beat for the lovely African song "Ogo ni fun Oluwa!" (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

Sophomore chorale member Rick Daily gives it his all. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

Mrs. Claus and her dancers (top), and her husband Santa Claus and the Staples choir, in the traditional production number. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

(From bottom left) Michael Sixsmith, Mikell Washington and Santa Claus singing the rousing finale, the Hallelujah Chorus. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

4 responses to “71st Annual Gift To The Town (New Photos Added)

  1. Hey Dan!!!

    Your pictures bring the beautiful sounds of “Sing Thee Noel” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” all the way to North Carolina!!
    WE do miss Candlelight oh sooo much!! It is one of those things that makes Westport, Westport!!
    By the way, Loved!! your piece on Burr Farms Elementary School at Holiday time!! Just think it was just like that in every school!! From Bedford Elementary, (now Town Hall) to Assumption School, to Long Lots Junior High, to Staples High School, every school!!
    Westport in the mid-sixties, can we go back to those Christmas events and gatherings, Jacob?? Please Jacob Marley can we go back??
    Anyway, Thanks Dan, for bringing one of our favorite Westport traditions to us in North Carolina!!

    Tom & Sue Wall

  2. Does anyone know if the Concerts were broadcast this year? I can’t find any mention of it.

    • Jim Honeycutt, Staples’ media maven, filmed the Candlelight Concert. It will be broadcast on Cablevision public access channel 78 — but I don’t know when.

  3. Loved the show last night, especially the penultimate number with Elvis and prancing Ugg-booted reindeer! I felt a special holiday ‘glow’ being able to belt out my wobbly alto harmony to the Hallelujah chorus. But left with my eyes welling up at the thought of Nava and her family. I gave my husband and boys all a big hug on the way home.