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Orchestra, chorus and band students amp up for Candlelight

Fans pack the seats. A strong and jolly melody beats in the room. Lights dim, blacken, and then brighten again.
Is this the Super Bowl at halftime? Nope. It’s the Staples Candlelight Concert, which will be having its 74th annual performance the weekend of Dec. 12.
Band director Nick Mariconda and orchestra director Adele Valovich explained that some aspects of Candlelight remain the same as the first concert in the 1940s, while others have changed. At the concert’s inception, the show focused on the celebration of Christmas, now it is more about celebrating the overall holiday season. But opening the show with “Sing Me Noel” and ending with the “Hallelujah Chorus” have remained traditional.
“When I took this job I was told to start with [‘Sing Me Noel’] because it sets the tone,” Valovich said. “It’s a piece that brings people’s stress levels down, which is a goal of ours for the audience.”
According to symphonic band and symphonic orchestra member Robyn Adelkopf ’15, Candlelight is the most famous concert of the year.
“We have alumni coming from all over the country for this,” Adelkopf said. “Therefore, it’s a really big event and we take it seriously.”
Given that there is usually a packed audience and that musicians are on stage 20 minutes longer than most other performances, there is a lot of pressure. As a result, the various music classes begin preparation for the show as early as the start of September.
“It’s a lot of music to learn, but it’s also some of the most fun music we learn in the year,” choir and Orphenians member Keanan Pucci ’16 said.
Sadly, last year, a major snowstorm caused an emergency cancellation of two of the three shows. There was no reserved snow date; but, this year, the music department has been proactive, and set a snow date for the weekend.
“We were very disappointed last year because we want the audience to hear our work,” Mariconda said. “We expect and hope to play three times this year.”
Mariconda explained that the unique nature of Candlelight makes it important for those interested in the concert being able to attend.
“Since it’s a free event, Candlelight is the music department’s gift to the town,” Mariconda said. “It is a way of celebrating the arts.”

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Justine Seligson, Photo Coordinator
Being a self-described political junkie and a teen travel writer, Justine Seligson '15 is not only, without a doubt,  a well rounded student and basically a mother's dream, but also a very unique addition to the staff. Seligson is extremely modest about her accomplishments, but it is very clear that her extensive journalistic experience outside of Inklings has largely influenced her presence on the paper. "I have a column on teen travel on my parent's website, which is called Farewell Travels," Seligson said. "It's a very different type of writing [than Inklings] but it's definitely helped me to grow as a journalist overall." Seligson goes on to describe the plethora of exquisite articles she has written for her column over the years. Seligson further explained how her experiences in traveling have shaped her journalistic presence in a large way. She explains why she is nonchalant about the amazing experiences she has had traveling the globe, explaining that it has always been a way of life for her and her family. "My family travels all the time," she said. "It's just part of our business." However, Seligson says that "...[she] would a much different writer if [she] hadn't traveled so much." She casually mentions how much of an impact a pre-college Kenyan writing program had on her, as what an honor it was to be featured in the National Geographic Student Edition. "It made me realize that even though journalism may supposedly be a dying business, there may be some hope for me to pursue my dream career," she said. With her in-depth knowledge of travel and politics, Seligson is sure to be an interesting voice on the paper this year. She hopes to improve her writing and photography even more this year, as well as to help other staff members to increase the quality of their own photographs.

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