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Candlelight Concert joyfully kicks off holiday season

Contributed by Kelsey Shockey
Orphenians sing during the Candlelight Concert

A few items are essential for the holiday season. The crisp peppermint of candy canes, the spicy scent of a Balsam fir in your living room, and most importantly, the sounds and sights of Staples’ annual Candlelight Concert.

And within Candlelight, there are a few essentials as well.

For starters, you’ve got to assemble an attentive audience – and last night’s performance was no exception. The audience laughed at every joke, applauded with enthusiasm at the close of every piece, and there might have even been a few tears.

“I thought the audience was a very wide range of ages which made it special because Candlelight is something everyone can come together to enjoy,” said Caroline McKechnie ’15.

The next key ingredient that everyone is expecting is a classically composed orchestra. With the rich low of the cello, the quiet murmur of the bass from the back of the stage, and the violins dancing on every melody, the orchestra must be present.

“I enjoyed the orchestra’s performance of the Nutcracker!” said a capella choir member Emma Ruchefsky ’15. This year, the performance of the Nutcracker segment included a lengthy harp solo.

The production number is another key component. Studded with nursery rhymes, dance numbers, and all the jokes a composer could squeeze into the allotted time period, this year’s piece, based on a lively Caroline Rossi as Mother Goose and the other characters of storybookland, along with Santa, lived up to past years’ standards.

And of course, the evening is always brought to a close with the resounding glory of the Hallelujah Chorus—where all performers comes together to truly ring in the holiday season with one last song, together.

“My favorite number has always been the Hallelujah Chorus because everyone gets to perform together, and you can really just feel the happiness and excitement in the atmosphere of the auditorium,” said Katie Zhou ’14, the Concertmaster of the Symphonic Orchestra.

Despite the fact that the evening itself was a success, many performers were disappointed that the second and third performances were cancelled due to the incoming snow. Zhou expressed her disappointment that during her last year of Candlelight, she would only be able to enjoy the single performance.

“We don’t just perform for ourselves; Candlelight is a way to share the joy and spirit of the holiday season with everyone, and at the very least, it should have been rescheduled for another time, not cancelled completely,” said Zhou.

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Cadence Neenan
Cadence Neenan, Web Managing Editor
By the age of 18, most kids have not yet chosen their favorite word. In fact, most teenagers have never even thought about such a question. Perhaps a few have been asked on a “Getting to Know You” sheet handed out by English teachers on the first day of school. But in that case, most probably just mindlessly scribbled words onto their sheets such as “literally,” or “totally,” or “dude.” Cadence Neenan ’15, on the other hand, has thought about this deeply. Her favorite word is “loquacious.” Neenan grew up in a home that fostered a love for all things English. With her mom as a former Staples High School English teacher and her dad as a librarian, Neenan was destined for a love affair with vocabulary, grammar, and reading. “My mom always used to read to me ever since I was little,” she said. “I love to read because I was raised to be a good reader.” In school, Neenan has opted to create a heavy course load that reflects her love of English and reading. AP Lit, AP Lang, AP Euro, and AP Gov are just a few of the difficult classes Neenan has chosen to take on. For Neenan, however, much of the learning and “fun with English” goes on outside the class material. “The other night, I was reading a poem during English class,” Neenan said. “I really liked it, so I brought it home and showed my mom. We spent the whole 45 minutes at dinner rhetorically analyzing it and talking about the devices the author used. It was so fun.” Alongside typical English classes, Neenan has also become a part of Inklings to exercise her love of writing. After taking Intro to Journalism, she fell in love with newspaper writing and, since then, has proven herself to be an essential Inklings player, as she is now the Web Managing Editor. “When I found out that I got Web Managing I had a panic attack because I was so happy,” Neenan said. “I like being a managing editor because I love the freedom the web gives me to be creative with my ideas.” Neenan also plans to use her journalism and writing skills in college and, later, in her career. “In college I want to study political science, but I am considering using that to go into journalism,” Neenan said. “Going into journalism with a focus on politics is what I am really interested in.”

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