Candlelight Concert Rings In The Holiday Season

Tonight’s Candlelight Concert — the 1st show of the 2-day, 74th annual gift to the town from the Staples High School music department — wowed a packed auditorium.

Hundreds of singers and musicians performed sophisticated pieces with aplomb. They threw in a PDQ Bach number, and the world premiere of a global warming-themed production number by Don Rickenbach.

And, of course, the timeless “Sing We Noel” processional, and rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” finale, serve as fitting bookends for one of Westport’s favorite events of the year.

"Now let hosannas ring..." (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

“Now let hosannas ring…” (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The chorus and chorale, with accompanist Dr. Robert Kwan. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The chorus and chorale, with accompanist Dr. Robert Kwan. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The a cappella choir, directed by Luke Rosenberg. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The a cappella choir, directed by Luke Rosenberg. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Adele Valovich leads the symphonic orchestra.

Adele Valovich leads the symphonic orchestra. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Nick Mariconda and the symphonic band. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Nick Mariconda and the symphonic band. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

There was a lot going on during the clever production number. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

A lot went on during the clever production number. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

At the end of the "Hallelujah Chorus," the audience was invited to return next year -- when the Candlelight Concerts celebrates its 75th anniversary. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

At the end of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” the audience was invited to return next year — when the Candlelight Concerts celebrates its 75th anniversary. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

 

 

 

8 responses to “Candlelight Concert Rings In The Holiday Season

  1. So my 82-year-old mom really did this: She took a pair of iPhone movies of the “Sing We Noel” processional on Friday night and emailed them to my brother in Chicago and to me in Boston.

    She needn’t have bothered to send the second movie. The first movie was enough. At the sound of the strings and the sight of the Staples choristers processing, the tears started to flow yet again. Just one note. Just one robe. Just one student. Just one candle. That’s all it takes to put me back inside that auditorium again. The experience is replicated again.

    There are three phases to the life of a student schooled in music by the Westport Public Schools. First, there are the years spent anticipating the opportunity to belong to the Choir for “Sing We Noel.” Second, there are the years, all too few of them, spent in service with the Choir. Finally, there are the years — which become decades — of remembering the experience.

    Doest thou remember? How couldest thou forget?

  2. Laurie Sugarman-Whittier

    Doug Davidoff–Can you have your mother send it to me? I think she still has my email address. When I saw this article, I thought, “Oh, I wish he’d posted a video!” I loved those concerts–4 years going when my brother sang, 4 years singing in them myself–and probably way more before then. Best high school concerts ever!

  3. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Heading to the concert today! Can’t wait! It has become a family tradition from back in the 60s!

  4. Although we now live in New York City, I read Dan’s posts as a way to keep in touch with the going’s on regarding my Westport friends and neighbors. In an eerie connection, my daughter was in a youth choir program last year at the Third Street Music settlement in the East Village. Her choir director was none other than Luke Rosenberg (who had mentioned that he had to commute quite a ways to make it to Thursday rehearsals, but I assumed he meant Brooklyn, not Westport!). This morning’s post was a very nice surprise to learn that Luke is the music director at Staples HS. They are very lucky to have him!

    • Luke is spectacular. In just 3 years, he has stepped wonderfully into the shoes of George Weigle and Alice Lipson, yet has made the choral program distinctly his own. He is tough but loving, with a style and vision all his own. Staples’ choirs — and Orphenians — are in great hands. And yeah, he does it all while commuting to Westport from Brooklyn. Amazing!

  5. Denny Davidoff

    Last night was fabulous. Again. No way I’m gonna miss the 75th next year. And I have Laurie Sugarman-Whittier e-mail address.

  6. Margaret Hart Rynshall

    Why is it that this concert affects us all this way? It’s one of those magical memories I guess… and it gets me every time too.

    • My 3 reasons: 1) Because it’s timeless, in an often-changing world. 2) Because it reaffirms our faith in teenagers and educators. 3) Because it’s so damn GOOD.