Candlelight Behind the Scenes

Jingle-Bell Rock: The Choir rehearses for the Annual Candlelight Concert held Dec. 10 and 11. | Photo By Leah Bitsky '12

It is almost time for the 70th Candlelight concert at Staples High School.

Much has changed as a new choir director replaces former director Alice Lipson, and a music secretary was let go due to budget cuts.

More practice, as well as a change in the schedule has been made in order to make this Candlelight concert better than ever.

Candlelight itself can be broken into two parts: one being “traditional” performances featuring composers such as Vivaldi and Handel, as well as some multicultural music.

According to the new choir director, Justin Miller, “rehearsals for the traditional performances start almost at the beginning of the year.”

The second part of Candlelight is the famous and fun production number. Much more thought and preparation has been put into the production number compared to last year. After the music department discussed on replacing the production number, Mr. Miller has put much energy into making it “into something classy and entertaining.”

As opposed to a loosely theme based production, this year Miller is taking a different approach to the production, presenting it more as a “mini play and or a storyline.” Sarah Izzo ’11 who has been apart of the choir both last year and this year said that this year the choir has been “spending lots more time on it and in result the production number has a better and more clear storyline.” She believes that Mr. Miller’s main goal is to have the choir “try and work together as much as possible.”

Whitney Andrews ’11 also believes that Mr. Miller has done a great job bringing Candlelight together.

“He has definitely brought us from a 7 to a 10,” Andrews said; that passion, and excitement for music, has really inspired the choir,.

Not only has the choir worked harder, but so has all of the Staples music staff in order to make up for its loss of a music secretary.

In terms of organizing ticket orders, creating the program, as well as collecting ads the music department has all had to help out, especially David Winer, the Music Supervisor for grades K-12.

“My job requires me to make sure that the music program is successful and I’ll do whatever it takes to have everything run smoothly,” Winer said.

Even though these extra tasks have “taken away from some instructing”, Winer refuses to complain as long as Candlelight and the music department remains successful.

Another change in the Candlelight schedule is that there will be more time between each show. This is partly to prevent kids from taking part in irresponsible behavior.

However, one student, granted with anonymity in light of the subject, said that they “wouldn’t be surprised if they did [drink at candlelight]” and that “if people do they will make sure to look as sober as possible.”

That said, not all students feel this way; another student granted anonymitydue to the nature of the subject said, “I don’t think that anybody will drink. Candlelight is a great time for us to connect as a Westport community and I doubt that anybody will try to ruin that this year.”

Whether or not students plan on drinking, Miller intends to have a serious discussion with his students in order to try and prevent these actions.

He believes that the time changes might make a difference in student’s decisions; however, if students do decide to drink he has insured that there will be severe punishments.

As the new choir director Miller has brought fresh ideas to the concert and hopes that “the entire town and students try and attend in order to celebrate these great traditions and holidays.”