A few days ago, I posted a video of a Staples orchestra and choir rehearsal of the Hallelujah Chorus. I stood behind the strings, providing a different sound than most audiences usually hear.
Tonight — at the Candlelight Concert — I was in the middle of the alumni section. Traditionally, at the final performance, former choir members are invited onto the risers to sing the stirring finale.
As usual, dozens accepted choral director Luke Rosenberg’s invitation. Here’s the joyful result:
(If your browser does not support this link, click here for the YouTube link.)
A good effort certainly, but no comparison to December 1966 under John Ohanian’s and George Weigle’s direction. I wish I knew what is happening to my records I sent to Mr. Honeycutt like in February that were supposed to be turned into DVDs and included in the Christmas recordings that will be available every year and as part of your blog, Dan.
This year’s Candlelight Concert was a special comfort to everyone who attended. In spite of the pain shared by all of us, this year’s was one of the best as a new, young talented faculty member brought energy to Staples most talented Music Department and to this year’s concert series. As my wife, a Staples Guidance counselor, prepared to join her Staples Department in their effort to assist in Newtown’s crisis center, I got to attend all three Candlelight concerts and sell CDs of this year’s show. I gladly watched all three shows – each one was better than the last. My weekend was wonderful while others nearby lived a nightmare. The people with whom I spoke after each show were so kind and we all swooned over this years concerts. Congratulations to the Music Department and to the students who shared their talents and joy. The Candlelight Concert is a gift to the Westport community. This year we were all especially grateful to receive it.
P.S. Barbara, your vinyl records are safe with me. I have a whole bunch to digitize and convert into CDs (not DVDs) when I can – believe or not, my job at Staples keeps me busy. It is my hope to get digitized all of the vinyl records of Candlelight that exist and we can find so the Music Department will have a digital legacy of as many Candlelight recordings. Also, tune into WWPT over the holiday as we will be playing the Candlelight CDs for the last 11 years continuously.
P.P.S. I am sure somewhere John Ohanian is very happy with the quality of this past weekends’ Candlelight. Remember his shows did not have the excellent Symphonic Band that Nick Mariconda’s students produced this past weekend.
I don’t know why I get DVDs and CDs mixed up in my mind, but of course I meant CDs. Sorry for that mistake. I know the Candlelight Concert is a gift to Westport every year, especially the processional. We all remember it. In George Weigle’s Christmas card to me this year he said, “Happy Holidays! And may you find peace and warm memories of our Candlelight Concerts! May the bells keep ringing!” He will be 84 in March. I do not have a clear memory of the symphonic band of my era, but I do know that John Ohanian’s orchestra was on par with college orchestras and was probably the best orchestra in the state of Connecticut. I was not a member, by the way. I was a singer, and I was kind of scared of Mr. Ohanian. 🙂 Thanks for all of your hard work, Jim.
Barbara, you would be blown away by the current orchestra. Adele has built upon John Hanulik’s wonderful foundation, in an amazing way. This year, their performances of Bach’s “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” and Tschaikowsky’s “Suite from the Swan Lake Ballet” were stunning. All alumni should be proud that the music department continues to amaze, awe — and, this year, comfort.
I am very proud of the music department at Staples. And I am sure that John Hanulik is very proud also in heaven.
Thank you, Dan, for allowing us alumni that weren’t there to participate this way. Still a powerful moment and gets to me every time.
Such great memories! Makes me think back on those magical Westport and Staples years! Thanks Dan!
I sang along. Much has passed since I was part of the Christmas Candlelight Concerts; you can’t really go back. But forever all those memories will enrich my life, and I am so grateful for that.