More Candlelight News: Video On YouTube, Concerts Livestreamed

If you can’t get enough of Staples High School’s Candlelight Concerts — and if you don’t mind one more “06880” post about them — read on:

You can watch last weekend’s 75th anniversary broadcast 2015 by clicking here. The student-run telecast was led by Justin Schwebel and Cooper Boardman.

Meanwhile, WWPT-FM will air 20 Candlelight Concert CDs — plus 2 old-time, student-produced radio dramas  (“It’s A Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol”) from now through New Years. If you’re in the area, tune in to 90.3. If you’re anywhere else on the planet, click here for the live stream.

Candlelight: The gift to the town that keeps on giving.

(Special thanks to Jim Honeycutt, Staples’ Media Lab teacher who makes all this amazing stuff happen.)

A collage of Candlelight Concert album and CD covers, through the ages.

A collage of Candlelight Concert album and CD covers, through the ages.


7 responses to “More Candlelight News: Video On YouTube, Concerts Livestreamed

  1. Thank you, Dan, for bringing so much joy to so many of us this past year. You are the gift to the town that keeps on giving, a genuine treasure. So many of my Staples classmates love Westport but no longer live in town and it means so much to them when I share your postings.

    • Thanks, Linda — much appreciated! It is a joy to be able to do this. I am energized by you, and so many like you — Westporters past and present. It’s a crazy town, but it’s ours. Happy holidays!

  2. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    Linda said it first and best. Thank You Dan. I love the posts and was so delighted to be able to hear the concert. I love the record covers , even if “my era” wasn’t represented! It is a miracle that the 1956, 57 & 58 records even survived. The covers are plain white but someone wrote my name and home room number on mine in beautiful script. I was thrilled to learn that Sing We Noel is still the first song sung. Just seeing the title brought all the words back to my memory.
    Again, Thank you. I love your column.

  3. Dan, I have to confess: tears started welling in my eyes at the first strains of “Welcome Yule,” then spilled over at “Sing We Noel.” I remember so clearly lining up in the lobby, in our choir robes and holding our candles, waiting for the processional – and this was in 1979! Candlelight has been a seminal experience for so many Staples grads. I still know every note of the “Hallelujah” chorus.

  4. I’m glad I can follow in the trail of tears led by Abby Newman’s comment just above. I also cannot get through “Sing We Noel:” with dry eyes, and I cannot get through another year without commenting on “06880” about the importance of this song. I just posted the following on my Facebook page with a link to the SHS telecast of the 75th annual concert:

    “If I forgot ‘Sing We Noel,’ I would simply fail to be a Westporter any more. It’s as ‘Westport’ as the Memorial Day Parade and the Fireworks at Compo Beach. Even more so, as it is unique. While acknowledging that Northfield Mount Hermon School of Massachusetts has been performing the song for longer and that John Ohanian brought the song to us from them, we have, during the past 60 years, more than made ‘Sing We Noel’ our own. We perform it in a liturgy we have constructed that is ours, combining the orchestral arrangement, the processional, the robes and the candles, as well as the scene-setting “Welcome” antiphonal.

    “So the musicians at these two unrelated New England schools annually sing this otherwise forgotten prayer alone together into the heavens, to bring peace and worship to a season that needs it more — and constantly more — than ever before. My dad, Jerry Davidoff, a former Board of Education chair, used to say that ‘Sing We Noel’ was his one guaranteed annual moment of innocence. I’m so glad I was present for the 75th anniversary concert. As history-filled as Candlelight seemed in 1974, when the tradition was just 34 years old and it was my turn to sing Noel, it’s a bit numbing to realize that more than half the tradition’s history has taken place since my high school graduation — as it was a very big deal even way back then.”

    Dan, to continue, it occurs to me that “Sing We Noel” and “Welcome Yule” bring worship to the concert, and right at the start, too. You may criticize my use of “worship,” but I use it here — for the sake of public education — in as un-religious a sense as possible: “worship,” meaning simply a celebration of that which is worthy of praise. It’s important in group worship to become centered and drawn together into the celebration. “Welcome Yule” is the call to worship; “Sing We Noel” is its deepest prayer. Thus, ten minutes after the start of the annual concert, through “Welcome Yule” and “Sing We Noel,” the audience becomes transformed from concert-goers into participants in a joint endeavor designed to worship music, to worship the wonder of high-school children coming of age, to worship talent and desire and pure joy in the trying for excellence, to worship education and educators, and even to worship alumni/ae. With “Sing We Noel,” the concert becomes a unity of worshippers, a place of innocence where anything musically can happen until we are released via the “Hallelujah Chorus.” The restless children in the audience are joys, too, in this system. Students of the music faculty in the elementary and middle schools, they are the high school musicians of tomorrow; if they fidget, they are still taking in the tradition. Without “Sing We Noel,” the concert would simply be a collection of numbers by various performing groups. That is what you see in most other schools, and it is good. But “Sing We Noel” makes what happens at Staples great. For sixty years, it remains the greatest gift to the Music Department’s annual greatest gift to the town.

    • Wow — fantastic stuff, Doug. THANKS for sharing. You nailed it, for sure. I will pass this on to the Staples music department, who — though still recovering from the work they put in for a year on this concert — will very much appreciate your loving insights. Much appreciated!