Candlelight 2015: A Concert For The Ages

Hundreds of alumni — from as far away as California, and as long ago as the 1950s — poured in to the Staples High School auditorium, for last night’s 75th anniversary Candlelight Concert.

At the end of the emotional evening, they poured onto the stage for Staples’ largest-ever “Hallelujah Chorus.” In addition to the traditional choral singers, several former orchestra members brought their instruments on stage too.

Candlelight has inspired musicians and concert-goers for three-quarters of a century. Here’s to the next 75!

Wellington Baumann holds his candle proudly, during the "Sing We Noel" processional. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Wellington Baumann holds his candle proudly, during the “Sing We Noel” processional. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The timeless "Sing We Noel" processional. (Photo/Kerry Long)

The timeless “Sing We Noel” processional. (Photo/Kerry Long)

Among the programs on display was this. The 2nd verse of "Sing We Noel" is no longer sung -- making it a lost verse from a carol that (except for Staples) is now quite obscure.

Among the programs on display was this. The 2nd verse of “Sing We Noel” is no longer sung — making it a lost verse from a carol that (except for Staples) is now quite obscure. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Dr. Robert Kwan accompanied the chorus and chorale. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Dr. Robert Kwan accompanied the chorus and chorale. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Vocal director Luke Rosenberg asks his chorale to take a bow. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Vocal director Luke Rosenberg asks his chorale to take a bow. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Adele Valovich's orchestra wowed the audience with 2 selections from "Coppelia Ballet." Nick Mariconda's band was similarly stunning. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Adele Valovich’s orchestra wowed the audience with 2 selections from “Coppelia Ballet.” (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Nick Mariconda's band added a big brass sound. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Nick Mariconda’s band added a big brass sound. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

World music is an important part of Candlelight. The African song "Noel" included rhythmic clapping by the a cappella choir. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

World music is an important part of Candlelight. The African song “Noel” included rhythmic clapping by the a cappella choir. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Don Rickenback's original production number included a Santa "Grinch." (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Don Rickenback’s original production number included this Santa “Grinch.” (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

David Ohanian -- son of Candlelight founder John Ohanian, and himself a world renowned French horn player -- guest-conducted the orchestra for the "Hallelujah Chorus." Former choral director Alice Lipson did the same honors with the vocalists. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

David Ohanian — son of Candlelight founder John Ohanian, and himself a world renowned French horn player — guest-conducted the orchestra for the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Former choral director Alice Lipson did the same honors with the vocalists. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Alumni joined current singers and orchestra members for a memorable "Hallelujah Chorus." (Photo/Kerry Long)

Alumni joined current singers and orchestra members for a memorable “Hallelujah Chorus.” Click on or hover over this (and every) photo for the full effect. (Photo/Kerry Long)

A program from 1958 -- just one thread in an unbroken string of memorable Candlelight Concerts, from 1940 to 2015. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

A program from 1958 — just one thread in an unbroken string of memorable Candlelight Concerts, from 1940 to 2015. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Bonus feature: Joe Pucci’s video of the “Hallelujah Chorus:

 

20 responses to “Candlelight 2015: A Concert For The Ages

  1. Dan, what a wonderful tribute to a very special celebration! It was an incredible night and you captured it so beautifully!!! We are so lucky to have experienced such an awesome event!!! Merry Christmas!

  2. Dan, thank you so much for the 1958 program picture. As the alto soloist that year, I loved seeing it. Kareen Kanaga

    Sent from my iPad

    • At last night’s concert, alumni were invited to write their favorite Candlelight memories and post them on the wall. Someone from the late ’50s wrote about a beautiful soloist singing from her wheelchair — but could not remember her name. Do you know?

  3. Connie Bentley

    I watched the live stream from our home in Northwest Washington state. It was a thrill from the opening video (created by my big brother John Brandt) to the emotional ‘Sing We Noel’ processional and on through the incredible Hallelujah Chorus with guest directors and crowds of Alums. The experience once again transformed the Holidays for me. My kitty Peanut watched attentively from my lap and gently touch the screen of my iPad at certain times. She particularly liked the candles in the processional. I was was very impressed, but not surprised with the level of the performances and the quality of the production. Thank you Staples!

  4. Ps. Saw you in the front row of the HC, Dan!

  5. Best Candlelight ever!

  6. I just noticed that Mike Perlis’ mom, Vivian, is listed as playing the harp on the cover of the 1958 program. That triggered the memory that she was indeed an accomplished harpist before she became an internationally renowned music historian. That’s very cool that she performed with the Staples orchestra.

  7. Nancy Hunter Wilson

    Great trumpeter!

  8. It was a fabulous show and thank you Dan for showing my Mom and I to the cafeteria!!

  9. Dan, thank you for all of your work to share this event with folks from around the country. It indeed was a highlight of my year. I was impressed that I still remember all of the words! The visit that I had with Alice Lipson, the opening video with Dorothy Straub and Robert Genualdi, visits with friends old and new and meeting the new music leadership of Staples… It was a joy from beginning to end.
    Thank you!

  10. Dan, for those of us who couldn’t get tickets this year and missed the live stream, will there be a dvd available to buy from this special candlelight concert? Would love to see it.

  11. Thank you Dan for this wonderful post. Such a beautiful, special event to be a part of, that lives on. 🙂 It truly is all about the music and you captured the night beautifully in this post, for someone who wasn’t there that night. Merry Christmas! 🙂

  12. Hi Dan –

    Your columns about the Candlelight Concert are wonderful. We are 1962 alums…..Concert Choir and Orphenians. Wish we could have been there. But, you took us on a lovely nostalgic visit. Thank you.

    We noticed that George Weigle was briefly mentioned and not part of the program. That added to our concerns for he and Eleanor. This is the first year we haven’t received a Christmas card from them in years.

    If it’s not too intrusive, would you let us know they’re ok? Appreciate it.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

    Patty White Dunn Sean Lowther

    • As is traditional, a group of alums caroled at the Weigles’ home Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, George is not in great health. He wanted to be at the reception and concert, but did not feel up to it. His daughter Kim represented the family, and when she was introduced she received a well-deserved warm, loving round of applause.