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)
The weather may be cold.
But it’s the hottest ticket in town.
The 78th annual Staples High School Candlelight Concert will pack the auditorium for 3 performances next month: Friday, December 14 (8 p.m.), and Saturday, December 15 (3 p.m. and 8 p.m.).
This annual gift to the Westport community showcases the diverse talents of Staples musicians (and their teachers). There’s music from around the world, and of course the opening processional, inspiring “Hallelujah Chorus” and creative production number.
Groups performing include Bella Voce, Choralaires, Anima Cantorum, bands and Symphonic Orchestra.
Because it’s a gift from the Staples music department, tickets are free. But they go very fast. They’re available to the public starting at 9 a.m. this Monday (November 19). Click here then to get yours!
The always-evocative “Sing We Noel” processional. (Photo by Lynn Untermeyer Miller)
Santa has his elves. The Staples High School music department has Jim Honeycutt.
Though he retired in 2016, the video production teacher returned this month to coordinate video coverage of the Candlelight Concert.
Now — with help from audio production instructor Geno Heiter and consultant Mike Phillis — Candlelight fans around the globe can enjoy the 77th annual show.
- “Sing We Noel” is at 8:35.
- Luke Rosenberg’s choral groups (15:45 27:35, and 36:00).
- Adele Valovich’s symphonic orchestra (46:40).
- Nick Mariconda’s symphonic band (59:15).
- Don Rickenback’s production number (01:20:00).
- The rousing “Hallelujah Chorus” (01:34:10).
Unwrap this gift carefully. It’s very precious!
Candlelight Concert decorations, in the Staples High School auditorium (Photo/Lynn U. Miller)
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)
Some things are timeless. Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert, for example, with its achingly beautiful “Sing We Noel” processional; its spectacular choral, orchestral and band music; its boisterous production number, and its show-stopping “Hallelujah Chorus” finale.
Some things are new — like using the internet to order of tickets.
This year — for only the 2nd year in a row — tickets are available online. Orders will be taken beginning 9 a.m. this Monday (November 20), at http://www.StaplesMusic.org. There is a 4-ticket maximum.
The 77th annual Candlelight Concert is set for Friday, December 15 (8 p.m.) and Saturday, December 16 (2 p.m. and 8 p.m.).
The concert is a gift to Westport, from the Staples music department. Tickets are free.
The traditional “Sing We Noel” processional. (Photo/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.
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.
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
There were many highlights at this weekend’s 75th anniversary Candlelight Concert
Scores of alumni traveled from across the country to honor the music that meant so much to them, so many years ago.
World renowned musician David Ohanian (son of Candlelight founder John Ohanian) and former choral director Alice Lipson guest-conducted the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
The fruits of hours of donated labor — searchable digitized recordings from as far back as 1953, scanned photos, souvenir programs — were on display in the lobby.
But one of the coolest surprises came right at the start of each show. The lights dimmed — and instead of the “Sing We Noel” processional, audiences were treated to a 9-minute video.
Created and produced by John Brandt — a 1961 Staples High School grad who sang for George Weigle back in the day — it honors the long legacy of Candlelight.
But it does much more than that too. In a series of clips and brief interviews, it offers a powerful argument for the importance of arts in education. Generations of Westport students have become better, stronger, richer people thanks to the school system’s music program. This stunning video is a tribute to the men and women — and the town — that gave them that gift.