From an achingly beautiful “Stille Nacht” to a stirring Nigerian carol “Betelehemu” — bookended of course by the haunting traditional “Sing We Noel” processional, a hilarious production number and the rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” — last night’s 78th Candlelight Concert was one of the best ever.
Staples High School’s hundreds of singers, orchestra and band members and instructors put their remarkable talents on display, in a packed auditorium. It is the music department’s gift to the town — and no amount of money could provide a finer present.
The Candlelight Concert continues this afternoon and this evening. All tickets for both performances were claimed weeks ago.
Handsome decorations in the Staples High School auditorium lobby.
Chamber musicians play as concert-goers arrived.
Antonio Antonelli carries on the “Sing We Noel” tradition.
The Choralaires’ joyful rendition of “Betelehemu.” Dr. Robert Kwan is the accompanist.
Carrie Mascaro debuts as Staples’ Symphonic Orchestra conductor.
Don Rickenback’s hilarious production number includes a “Fiddler on the Roof”-style introduction about “Tradition” …
… and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s much lesser-known daughter.
Choral director Luke Rosenberg, orchestra conductor Carrie Mascaro and band leader Nick Mariconda take well-deserved bows. (All photos/Dan Woog unless otherwise noted)
If you missed last Friday’s Staples High School concert, you weren’t alone. Tickets went faster than “Springsteen on Broadway” (and, being free, for a lot less cash).
But you don’t have to wait a year for the next one.
Here, thanks to the indefatigable Jim Honeycutt, is the entire show.
The symphonic band and orchestra, jazz band and choral group Orphenians — they’re all here.
So is a special tribute to retiring orchestra director Adele Valovich. The show is narrated by actor/director James Naughton.
BONUS REEL: As if that’s not enough, here’s the recent spring concert, featuring Nick Mariconda’s Staples jazz band, and their Bedford Middle School counterparts, led by Gregg Winters.
Posted in Arts, Entertainment, People, Staples HS, Teenagers
Tagged Adele Valovich, Bedford Middle School jazz band, Gregg Winters, Nick Mariconda, Orphenians, Staples High School jazz band, Staples High School music department, Staples High School Pops Concert
For decades, the Youth Concert has been a wintertime highlight — for performers and audiences alike.
Over 200 Staples High School students present a multimedia, interdisciplinary thematic show for every Westport 3rd through 6th grader.
Elementary and middle school music teachers prepare their students well. Their kids are engaged and excited.
Many of the Staples musicians on stage remember well their own excitement, sitting in the audience a few years earlier. For some, it sparked their passion for music and the arts.
This year’s theme was “Global Cultures.” And — for the first time ever — there was an encore performance at night, for parents.
Jim Honeycutt — who retired 2 years ago as a Media Lab video production teacher — loves the Youth Concert. He came back this year to tape the evening show.
He produced 2 videos. One includes the multimedia video shown above the performing musicians, on a screen. The other is without it.
Enjoy either (or both). You’ll be amazed at the talents of our high school students.
And — like their young audiences — inspired by the power of music.
(Staples’ Youth Concert musicians were led by Adele Valovich [orchestra], Nick Mariconda [band] and Luke Rosenberg [vocal].)
Posted in Arts, Children, Education, People, Staples HS, Teenagers
Tagged Adele Valovich, Jim Honeycutt, Luke Rosenberg, Nick Mariconda, Staples High School music department, Westport Youth Concert
The 77th annual Candlelight Concert debuted last night in the Staples High School auditorium. It’s the music department’s gift to the town. Performances are also set for this afternoon and evening.
As it has for more than three-quarters of a century, Candlelight was beautiful, magical and meaningful.
And the light snow just added to the wonder.
Photographer Lynn U. Miller was there to capture the scenes.
For 77 years, Candlelight has featured the lovely “Sing We Noel” processional.
The orchestra performed a stunning “Swan Lake” …
… and orchestra director Adele Valovich took a well-deserved bow.
Candlelight included the symphonic and sophomore bands, led by Nick Mariconda, as well as a variety of choral groups.
Luke Rosenberg directs the Choralaires (formerly the a cappella choir).
Don Rickenback wrote a jolly, North Pole-themed production number.
It wouldn’t be Candlelight without Alice Addicks.
In addition to the traditional “Cans for Candlelight” food drive, members of the Tri-M music honor society collected donations to rebuild music libraries in Texas schools, lost this fall to Hurricane Harvey.
Click below to hear the rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” finale:
(All photos and video/Lynn U. Miller)
For 76 years, the Staples High School music department has offered the Candlelight Concert as a gift to the town.
Last night’s present was well received, by a full house. Candlelight continues this afternoon and tonight.
No tickets remain. But here’s a chance to enjoy some of what the hundreds of young musicians — and their very talented teachers — gave to us last night.
A lobby display got concert-goers in the holiday spirit.
Alice Addicks retired from Staples in June. But she returned last night to her long-time post as head usher.
Candi Innaco’s chamber orchestra played outside the auditorium before the concert.
Dozens of poinsettias set the mood.
The orchestra began with Elgar’s “Enigma Variations.”
Choir member Colin McKechnie, in the famous “Sing We Noel” processional.
Dr. Robert Kwan accompanied the chorus and chorale.
Luke Rosenberg led the choir in 4 beautiful songs.
Orchestra members, reflected in the piano.
The “Hail to the Chief” production number included several intriguing “holiday” characters…
…including Secret Service agents. They flanked Don Rickenback, who wrote the entire piece.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer joined in the rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” finale.
Orchestra director Adele Cutrali-Valovich and band director Nick Mariconda take bows.
It took just 3 hours for the public to snap up all 1,600 tickets for tonight’s 1st-ever Staples High School Pops Concert.
And the crowd — old, young, Levitt Pavilion regulars and those who’ve never been to Westport’s riverside amphitheater — were not disappointed.
The orchestra, jazz band and choral groups — hundreds of very talented musicians — made this a (windy) night to remember.
Next year, the tickets will be snagged in a lot less than 3 hours.
Every inch of the Levitt Pavilion lawn was filled, as the Staples orchestra welcomed Westporters to the 1st-ever Pops Concert.
Emcee — and 2-time Tony Award winner — Jim Naughton took a turn on the triangle.
The sun glints off the Levitt Pavilion pavilion, as the jazz band plays.
Three Orphenians hang out, before they’re called.
First Selectman Jim Marpe (far left) was part of the enormous crowd at tonight’s Staples High School Pops Concert.
Orchestra leader Adele Valovich and choral director Luke Rosenberg greet the audience.
The 1st-ever Staples Pops Concert was fun for all ages. (All photos/Dan Woog — click on or hover over any photo to enlarge.)
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)
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. (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)
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)
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 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)
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)
Bonus feature: Joe Pucci’s video of the “Hallelujah Chorus:
Posted in Arts, Education, Looking back, People, Staples HS, Teenagers
Tagged Adele Valovich, Alice Lipson, David Ohanian, John Ohanian, Luke Rosenberg, Nick Mariconda, Staples High School Candlelight Concert
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)
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)
Adele Valovich leads the symphonic orchestra. (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)
Nick Mariconda and the symphonic band. (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)
Celebration and solemnity mixed together last night at Staples.
The high school’s 72nd annual Candlelight Concert provided not only its traditional joy, pageantry and warmth, but also a chance for Westporters to gather and reflect on the morning tragedy a few miles north in Newtown.
Principal John Dodig noted that the realization that 20 sets of parents would never again hug their children reinforced the importance of being with “the kids we love.”
Then the healing power of music began.
Choir member Michael Sixsmith was part of the always-evocative “Sing We Noel” processional. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
The Staples Choir’s rendition of “Holy Night, Silent Night” was hauntingly beautiful. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
The choir’s traditional production number included reindeer. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
Santa, elves, the choir, chorus, chorale and orchestra joined in a magnificent “Hallelujah Chorus” finale. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
New choral director Luke Rosenberg and veteran orchestra conductor Adele Valovich took bows after last night’s Candlelight Concert. Nick Mariconda’s band also played magnificently. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
Every year since 1940, the Staples High School music department has offered the Candlelight Concert to the town.
This weekend, several hundred teenagers — and instructors Adele Cutrali-Valovich, Nick Mariconda and Justin Miller — provided the gift of music to 3 wildly appreciative audiences.
The program included solemn hymns, classical music, a rousing African number, whimsical tunes — and of course, a production number.
In everyone’s thoughts were Nava Zeevi, the longtime accompanist whose husband Kuti was killed in a robbery Thursday night. Todd Simmons, assistant director of the Westport School of Music, stepped in to take her place.
Solomon Sloat (top) and Will Bitsky in the traditional "Sing We Noel" processional. (Photos by Lynn U. Miller)
Senior Mike Ljungberg provides the beat for the lovely African song "Ogo ni fun Oluwa!" (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
Sophomore chorale member Rick Daily gives it his all. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
Mrs. Claus and her dancers (top), and her husband Santa Claus and the Staples choir, in the traditional production number. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)
(From bottom left) Michael Sixsmith, Mikell Washington and Santa Claus singing the rousing finale, the Hallelujah Chorus. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)