Tag Archives: Staples Media Lab

Candlelight Concert CDs Now On Sale

If you were at Friday’s Candlelight Concert, you know it was one of the best in the 73 years the music department has been presenting this “gift to the town.”

If you had tickets to Saturday’s performances (or no longer live near Westport, but miss Candlelight greatly), you can only imagine what you missed.

Now — through the magic of the Staples Media Lab — you can listen to the 2013 Candlelight Concert forever. Or at least until CDs become obsolete.

Ordering info is below. But first, a back story that makes this year’s recording even more impressive.

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

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

Since 2001, audio production teacher Jim Honeycutt has produced Candlelight CDs. It’s an arduous task, but he does it because he loves the music, the young musicians and the tradition. Proceeds help fund the Media Lab.

He and senior Alex Fasciolo began to record the CD 4 days before the Friday Candlelight Concert. The next day, they lost 4 hours of recording time when school was canceled because of snow.

Honeycutt spent the next 2 days frantically preparing the CD for sale on Friday night. He and others were in the school until 11 p.m. Thursday, mixing sound for the production number. The next day, he began burning the CDs.

It not only sounds great — Honeycutt thinks the recording is the best ever — but art student Sophia Henkels’ cover is gorgeous too.

At Friday’s concert, Honeycutt had 4 of the 2001 CDs for sale, plus others from each year since. Former students and their parents were happy to replenish their supply.

But then came Saturday’s snow. Honeycutt now has a slew of CDs — and Candlelight has a ton of fans who never heard the concert.

Click below for an 8-minute sampler — or click here if your browser does not take you directly to YouTube.

CDs are $15 each. Students can purchase them at the Staples Media Lab (Room 450, near the cafeteria). To order by mail, send a check for $15 (made out to “Staples High School”) to: Jim Honeycutt, Staples Media Lab, Staples High School, 70 North Avenue, Westport, CT 06880. Please include your name, address, phone and email.

Questions? Call 203-341-1380, or email jim_honeycutt@westport.k12.ct.us

Lt. Col. Armas’ Compelling Memorial Day Video

On 9/11, Thomas Armas was a Marine. When the World Trade Center collapsed, most people ran for their lives. He ran toward it. Marines, he says simply, are trained to help.

Lt. Col. Armas went on to serve 3 tours of duty, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last week, he told his story on our high school’s TV show, “Good Morning Staples.”

Videos featuring service members are a Memorial Day tradition at Staples. Students in TV Production class spend long hours interviewing; selecting photos and music, and weaving together a compelling, instructive film, which is shown in every class.

The iconic photo of Thomas Armas, carrying a wounded woman from the World Trade Center.

This year’s video is one of the best.

With gentle prodding from senior JJ Mathewson, Armas describes that day at Ground Zero, and life in war zones.

But just as compelling are his insights into what it all means.

“People don’t give their lives for their country,” Armas says. “They give it for their hometowns.” That means, he explains, that Americans should have fun on Memorial Day. Going to the beach, a ballgame or barbecue is exactly why men and women have given their lives: so we can enjoy life.

However, he adds, we also have an obligation to give back.

Lt. Col. Thomas Armas during his “Good Morning Staples” interview.

As a Rye native — growing up in an environment very similar to Westport — he “was given the best childhood a person could have.” He gave back what he could by joining the military. He tells Staples students they don’t have to do that — but they should find some way to contribute to their community and their country, using their time and talents to better the lives of others.

The Staples Media Lab’s 2012 Memorial Day video is vitally important. It’s well researched, loving produced and richly rewarding.

It takes less than 15 minutes to watch.

But the lessons may last a lifetime.

Click below to view:

Jacqueline Devine: Take 1

It may not be as famous as recording studios like Motown’s Hitsville USA, Muscle Shoals Sound or Abbey Road, but Staples’ Media Lab makes music with the best of them.

Just ask Jacqueline Devine.

Jacqueline Devine, as seen on iTunes and Amazon.

The high school junior has sung all her life. She wrote her 1st song at 11. In 9th grade, her original tune “Just Be” was released on iTunes.

With 50 songs to her credit — and her own YouTube channel — Jacqueline is an accomplished artist. But she’s no Taylor Swift. For an 11th grader, studio time is expensive.

When a guidance counselor mentioned the Staples Media Lab — literally around the corner — Jacqueline was intrigued. Audio production instructor Jim Honeycutt offered to record 6 tracks after school. Three talented Staples musicians — fiddler Sam Weiser, bassist Olivia Kapell and drummer Mike Ljungberg — were her band.

It’s not the 1st time Jim’s done that. Other solo artists and groups have recorded CDs in the well-equipped studio.

Yet this time — as 2 student engineers recorded rhythm tracks — Jim shot video. When Jacqueline returned to record vocal overdubs, he set up 3 cameras.

The result: this professional-looking music video.

“She’s a rarity,” Jim says. “We’ve had great singers and songwriters over the years at Staples.

“But Jacqueline is a great-looking girl who writes, plays pianos and sings her own songs. I think they’ve got potential.”

Jacqueline told Jim she’ll probably end up in a more secure career than pop music. He chuckled: Before teaching, he was a musician himself. (His folk/rock/ country band the Repairs was signed by Andrew Loog Oldham to Rare Earth Records.)

“She’s legit,” he says. “Whatever she does, she’ll probably always dabble with music, and write songs.”

And when she hits the big time, she’ll always remember how she got her start — back in her high school recording studio.

A recent “Good Morning Staples” TV broadcast. Jacqueline’s interview begins at the 4:30 mark.