Calling All Candlelight Connoisseurs

Next year, Staples’ Candlelight Concert celebrates its 75th anniversary. Hallelujah!

To mark the occasion, the music department — in conjunction with Class of 1961 grad John Brandt — plans a spectacular video.

In 1979, the annual concert was already 39 years old.

In 1979, the annual concert was already 39 years old.

Candlelight originator John Ohanian was known for his meticulous attention to detail. The organizers of next year’s celebration have learned his lessons well.

Thirteen months ahead of time, they’re already searching for archival material. They need programs from before 1961 (the 1st one — 1940 — would be golden).

They’d like still photos, and of course recordings — either vinyl, old Beta videos, even reel-to-reel tapes.

Please send in jpeg or .wav format — or simply in its original form. All material will be copied and returned. Send to: Adele Valovich c/o Staples High School, 70 North Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. You can email her at  avalovich@westport.k12.ct.us, or call 203-341-5128. The deadline is December 12.

Now let hosannas ring…

Choir member Michael Sixsmith was part of the always-evocative "Sing We Noel" processional. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

A recent Candlelight processional. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

7 responses to “Calling All Candlelight Connoisseurs

  1. I don’t have any pictures but the year book I know had some. My year book was destroyed in a flood.

  2. I’m happy to learn that the kids still perform the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, as I did in the 1972 and 1973 Candlelight Concerts. I realize there are probably some folks — typically nonreligious Jews — who object to their kids performing Christmas music. Surprisingly, Orthodox Jews tend to have less of a problem with this. See: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/255422/why-orthodox-jew-loves-christmas-music-michael-m-rosen.

    • It has not been a problem at all. George Weigle’s successor as choral director was Alice Lipson, who was married to a rabbi (and whose daughter and son-in-laws are rabbis and cantors). Alice put this beautiful music in context, and taught it lovingly. She also introduced a tradition of world music at the concert, so there are holiday songs from around the world — with various religions represented. “Christmas concerts” have caused uproars in communities around the country, but never in Westport.

  3. I only have my programs from the 34th and 35th concerts, and my ’76 yearbook only shows rehearsal photos. Doubt any would be useful.
    Wasn’t it just last year that a recording (year?) was posted on 06880?