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)
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.
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.).
General 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)
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 email@example.com. That’s also the general contact email for Candlelight’s 75th anniversary.)
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!
The Orphenians are entering their busy season. Staples’ elite a cappella group is in high demand during the holidays.
But they’re also looking ahead to spring. In March, they’ve been invited to San Francisco. They’re one of 10 schools — and the only one from the East Coast — to participate in Chanticleer’s National Youth Choral Festival.
It’s an expensive undertaking. To raise funds, they’re bringing a giant music box to their performances. Donations are gratefully accepted.
The box was there last night, for Chanticleer’s performance at Christ & Holy Trinity Church.
The Orphenians, and their gift music box.
It will be out this weekend too, at the Candlelight Concert. If you’d like to help, drop cash or checks (made out to “Staples Music,” with “Orphenians” in the memo line) into the box.
Donations can also be sent to Luke Rosenberg, c/o Staples High School, 70 North Avenue, Westport, CT 06880.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-341-5128. The deadline is December 12.
Now let hosannas ring…
A recent Candlelight processional. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
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