Tag Archives: Candlelight Concert

Hallelujah! Candlelight Concert Returns!

Some things old. Some things new.
Nothing borrowed. But very (Staples) blue.

That’s the formula for next month’s 81st annual Candlelight Concert.

The beloved event returns with its traditional 3 in-person performances, after last year’s successful-but-still-not-the-same online documentary video.

To celebrate, the Staples High School music staff plans something special.

They’re a collegial, collaborative bunch. So that’s the theme of this year’s concert.

The familiar elements are all there: the “Sing We Noel” processional, “Hallelujah Chorus” finale, and production number in between.

Santa, elves, the choir, chorus, chorale and orchestra join in the “Hallelujah Chorus” finale. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

But — to share the “community” feeling that the music department enjoys — they’ll offer 4 big combined pieces. The band and orchestra will share the stage with choral singers throughout the performance.

Each conductor — Luke Rosenberg (choral), Carrie Mascaro and Jeri Hockensmith (orchestra) and Phil Giampietro (band) — leads one number.

The stage has been extended, to fit all performers.

Pieces include Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival” and Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy.” The latter — a large-scale piano concerto with chorus —  features senior pianist Sasha Maskoff.

Don Rickenback returns as writer and director of the production number.

Students are as excited as their teachers for the collaboration. They enjoy rehearsing together, and the exposure to other conductors. They’re proud too to be part of a very large effort.

The Candlelight Concert is set for Friday, December 17 (8 p.m.) and Saturday, December 18 (3 and 8 p.m.). Tickets will be available to the public at 9 a.m. on December 1. COVID safety protocols in effect at the time will be followed.

It will also be livestreamed one time only (due to video rights), on December 23.

Now let hosannas ring …

The Candlelight Concert returns for its 81st year next month.

 

Feasting On Candlelight

There’s no “Sing We Noel” processional this weekend. Alumni won’t throng the risers for the “Hallelujah Chorus.” All the little things — the beautiful music, zippy production number, even the large wreath hanging as a backdrop — are missing from this year’s Candlelight Concert.

But parents, friends and alumni — even the singers and musicians themselves — will feel the familiar goosebumps this Saturday (December 19, 7:30 p.m.), when a special livestream brings Candlelight to homes around the globe.

And if your home is in Westport, why not do something to help the town?

(Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

The Staples High School music department — which for 80 yeas has offered this gift to the town — has a great idea to make this home-for-the-holiday event extra special.

They suggest that everyone in Westport enjoy a takeout dinner this Saturday. Pick a favorite spot. Order a favorite meal. Pick it up (or have it delivered). Then gather around the TV screen (or computer), and make a festive night of it.

The music department makes this super easy. They’ve linked to Our Town Crier’s Westport Marketplace restaurant page. Just click here. There are dozens of places to choose from, featuring every cuisine (and price point).

It’s no secret: Restaurants need our help.

It’s also no secret: The Candlelight Concert is all about sharing.

This Saturday, share a meal along with music. And help our restaurants end 2020 on a high “note.”

(Click here for free registration for Saturday’s Candlelight Concert.)

Staples Candlelight Concert: The Show Will Go On!

COVID has canceled many holiday traditions: tree lightings. Carol sings. Office parties.

It can’t stop the Candlelight Concert. Can it?

Nope.

The beloved event — Staples High School’s music department gift to the town — takes place Saturday, December 19.

Of course, there’s a coronavirus caveat.

The bad news: For the first time in its fabled 80-year history, there will be no in-person audience. The musical numbers were recorded this weekend — with strict adherence to safety protocols. The concert will be livestreamed a week from next Sunday, at 7:30 p.m.

The good news: It will be a fantastic production.

In addition to the usual, wonderful professional-quality choirs, orchestra and bands, there are compelling interviews with current and past music directors, famed alumni participants, and the children of legendary educators George Weigle and John Hanulik.

The even better news: Because it’s a virtual concert, there’s no limit to the audience. There’s no scrambling for tickets. Anyone, anywhere on the globe (with an internet connection) can thrill to this year’s Candlelight “live.”

Even the musicians will be able to enjoy the show, at home with their families.

Registration for the remote access link is available next Monday (December 14, 9 a.m.) at www.StaplesMusic.org. Mark that date — and the December 19, 7:30 p.m. showtime.

Hallelujah!

There won’t be hundreds of musicians together on stage this year. But the Candlelight Concert will be as inspiring and beautiful as ever.

 

It’s A Wonderful Life, Indeed!

Take out your earbuds. Move over, Spotify. You’re so old school, iTunes.

Staples students are embracing a cutting-edge new technology: radio.

But not just any radio: a 1940s-style radio drama.

WWPT_logoTomorrow (Thursday, December 22, 1 p..m.), Geno Heiter’s Audio Production class and David Roth’s Theater 3 Acting class collaborate on a radio broadcast of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

They’ll use the original 1946 script — including Lux toilet soap advertisements from that long-ago time.

Similar WWPT-FM productions have won top awards in the John Drury national high school radio competition. Check it out:

It’s a phenomenal event — and a great undertaking. High school students incorporate live drama skills, sound effects and radio production into an entertaining, uplifting performance.

You can hear it locally on 90.3 FM, or by clicking here for the livestream.

It is indeed a wonderful life!

PS: The 2016 Candlelight Concert is also available on WWPT-FM (and via livestream). It’s broadcast at random times — so keep listening!

Candlelight Concert: Sneak Preview!

Staples High School’s 76th annual Candlelight Concert is set for tonight and tomorrow.

No tickets? No longer live here?

No problem!

Here’s a glimpse at this morning’s Orchestra rehearsal. Adele Valovich conducts the haunting “Nimrod” by Elgar. Just click on the video below to enjoy!

Bonus holiday feature photos:

sing-we-noel-sheet-music

candlelight-concert-rehearsal-2016-drum

The Holidays Are Here! Candlelight Concert Tickets Available Tomorrow.

Last year’s 75th Candlelight Concert celebration was classic — a warm, wonderful mix of voices, instruments, tradition, reverence, fun and joy that captivated audiences from near and far.

So what can Staples High School’s music department do for an encore?

They’ll reach for the brass ring again with their 76th.

The timeless "Sing We Noel" processional, in 2015. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The timeless “Sing We Noel” processional, in 2015. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

This year’s Candlelight Concert — featuring the symphonic orchestra, concert band and 3 vocal ensembles — includes longtime favorites like the “Sing We Noel” processional, excerpts from the “Nutcracker Suite,” “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” and the rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” finale, along with exciting new additions.

Performances are set for Friday, December 16 (8 p.m.) and Saturday, December 17 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.). The free tickets always go fast. This year — for the first time ever — they’ll be available online. Requests will be taken starting tomorrow (Thursday, November 17); click here for the form.

A limited number of tickets can be requested by mail (through December 9). Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Candlelight Tickets, Staples High School, 70 North Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. For more information, call 203-341-1243.

Candlelight Concert Tickets Now Available — Special 75th Anniversary Edition!

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

But there is a free Candlelight Concert. The catch: You have to order tickets now.

This year’s 75th annual holiday event will be a classic. Special guests with long ties to the Staples High School music department have been invited. And a special alumni reception is planned prior to the last of 3 performances — the traditional “alumni show.”

Candlelight is set for Friday, December 18 (8 p.m.), and Saturday, December 19 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.).

Candlelight logoGeneral admission tickets are available by mail. They must be postmarked by Wednesday, December 11 — but he who hesitates may not be singing “Hallelujah.” Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and the ticket order form (click here) to: Candlelight Tickets, Staples High School, 70 North Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.

The alumni gala (Saturday, December 19, 5-7 p.m., Westport Inn) includes a reserved seat to the concert, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, an exhibit of photos and posters since the 1950s, 75th Candlelight logowear and a 4-CD set of recordings of concerts from the ’50s to the present.

All proceeds help celebrate Staples High School music. To purchase tickets, select the button to the left. Click here for alumni gala ltickets and more information.

Now let hosannas ring…

(For 75 years, the Candlelight Concert has been presented as a gift to Westport. However, tax-deductible contributions made out to “Staples HS Music” are gratefully accepted, and may be sent along with ticket requests. To advertise in the Candlelight program book, click here. For the main Candlelight website, click here. And search “SHS Candlelight 75th Anniversary” on Facebook for an event page.)

The "Sing We Noel" processional -- a part of every Candlelight Concert since 1940. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

The “Sing We Noel” processional — a part of every Candlelight Concert since 1940. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Candlelight Concert Countdown Begins

Staples High School has many storied traditions. But none may be as venerable or beloved as the Candlelight Concert.

This December marks its 75th anniversary. Immediately after last year’s performances, the music department started planning this year’s celebration of that milestone.

There will be a special alumni show, with a pre-concert reception; a fantastic video; a collage wall; special appearances by noted graduates, and much more.

A Facebook page helps alums and interested others keep track of it all. It will include videos and recordings of long-ago concerts. Just search Facebook for “SHS Candlelight 75th Anniversary.”

Then start humming “Sing We Noel,” and get ready for December 18 and 19.

(The music department also seeks old photos, for publicity posters and the collage wall. Scan them at 600 dpi, and send to avalovich@westport.k12.ct.us. That’s also the general contact email for Candlelight’s 75th anniversary.)

Candlelight logo

If “Jingle Bell Rock” Makes You Want To Set Your Hair On Fire…

… and you seriously think about moving to North Korea every time you hear “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”: Help is at hand.

From now through Christmas, WWPT-FM is broadcasting 20 hours of Candlelight concerts. The newest is last week’s. The oldest stretches back 50 years.

To avoid “Hallelujah Chorus” overload, after every 3 Candlelights ‘PT runs this year’s Players/audio production broadcast of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

A collage of Candlelight Concert album and CD covers. The 1964 and '66 concerts are in the top row, starting at left.

A collage of Candlelight Concert album and CD covers. The 1964 and ’66 concerts are in the top row, starting at left.

This is not the 1st time the Staples radio station has provided a holiday listening treasure. But new this year are the old 1964, ’65 and ’66 Candlelight Concerts.

Media production instructor Jim Honeycutt digitized, edited and exported Barbara Sherburne’s vinyl records of those 3 performances. There are 17 Candlelights in the rotation: The 3 from the ’60s, then 2001 through 2014.

WWPT-FM can be heard locally at 90.3 FM. But the livestream is available everywhere. Just click on www.wwptfm.com, then go to “Listen Live” and “Click here to access the district stream.”

If you want to actually see the 2014 Candlelight concert — and you’re a Cablevision customer in Westport — it’s on Channel 78 nightly at 7:30.

And here’s a gift for out-of-towners: “It’s A Wonderful Life” is now on YouTube, too. Just click below.

Happy holidays — from George Bailey, Jim Honeycutt, WWPT and Staples to you!

 

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)