All Candlelight, All The Time

If you love the Staples Candlelight Concert — and who doesn’t? — what could be better than hearing it again on radio?

How about hearing the last 11 Candelights played non-stop, beginning tomorrow (Friday) afternoon and continuing straight through early next week?

Candlelight 2011 (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The Candlelight Concert — the high school music department’s annual gift to the town — is a soaring, inspiring and beautiful collection of vocal, orchestral and band music. There are hymns, carols, Hanukkah and African music, and a lovably schlocky production number.

Now, thanks to the miracle of modern technology – and the good, old-fashioned hard work of media instructor Jim Honeycutt — every Candlelight from 2001 through two weeks ago will be streamed live on the internet on WWPT, 90.3 FM. (It will also run in the background as part of the school district’s stream — and will be broadcast as background music on Cablevision Channel 78.)

The Staples Media Lab began recording the concerts — actually, the final rehearsal — in 2001. The idea for the CDs — and help with the initial recordings — came from student Robert Anstett.

The program design was used for the 1st CD covers. Quickly though, the art department got involved. Now students in the Advanced Design and Technology class create the covers.

Honeycutt and his crew work hard to produce CDs in time for each year’s shows. Profits are donated to the media, music and art departments. Some of the money went to purchase a new stereo microphone preamp, making this year’s CD “the best-sounding ever,” Honeycutt says.

9 Candlelight covers. (Collage created by Jim Honeycutt)

Why does he do it?

“Maybe because of my love of music,” Honeycutt muses.

“Maybe cause I think the memory of these wonderful concerts should be preserved. Maybe because I have the most amazing job in the world. I don’t know — but I’m happy to do it.”

The reward, Honeycutt says, comes from the faces of audience members leaving each concert, who are thrilled to have CDs of the impressive performances. One mother owns every one.

Now, musicians, alumni, parents, Candlelight fans — and anyone else with an internet connection — can enjoy 11 years’ worth of wonderful concerts.

It’s the music department — and Jim Honeycutt’s — gift to the world.

(Click here to listen live to WWPT-FM. And — though this has nothing to do with the Staples Media Lab — hard-core Candlelight addicts can listen to the 1972 concert, available through Westporters.com — click here, then click on the lower left corner.)

4 responses to “All Candlelight, All The Time

  1. Dan,

    Thank Jim and all of the Kids!! Can’t wait to hear all of the Candlelight Concerts non stop, even in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Thank him for allowing us to again enjoy and share in the magic of so many talented people.
    Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to Everyone at Staples and to Everyone in Westport.

    God Bless!!

    Tom & Sue Wall

  2. Vicky Sloat sent this along, and asked me to post it:

    hi Dan, I’m the one mother who has all the Candlelight cds!! thanks for the article, I’ll be listening…

    Actually, I really and truly use all the cds in my dance classes for children and adults…starting early December, we celebrate the light that is most visible at the darkest times…we dance angel dances and as stars and flames…the music makes it all so very lovely. The children learn the secrets of nature, of growth and change…and the light eternal…all through music and movement…and I have always been so grateful to the teachers at Staples for their wonderful choices of music, and for Jim who records it for us. I really and truly use the cds!!

    This week we have been having winter solstice festivities… we dance our way, one by one, into the center of a spiral of evergreen that is on the floor, with a candle in the center of it. The children light their candles and dance their way out… This year I used the song “Sure on this Shining Night”, and the “Snow Song” from this years cd…but I have used different ones in the past !! and so many children and families have loved the experience— all thanks to Candlelight!
    Happiest Holidays Dan!! Vicky

  3. Carissa Simon Keepin

    Wonderful idea! How about the 1971 concert????