The Candlelight Concert celebrates community through sound


George Cardenas

Kyle Champion, fine arts faculty, conducts the string section of the orchestra to continue playing music. The audience takes pictures of the performance while watching in awe. They all prepared extensively for this concert and thoroughly enjoyed the process.

After a year without performing, Webb’s Sinfonia Orchestra and Chamber Singers gave a stellar performance on December 12th during the biannual Candlelight Concert. Students performed a wide range of songs from classical preludes to a medley of Pixar soundtracks. The song choice fittingly included holiday songs, as well. Both VWS and WSC had the chance to listen to a preview of a few pieces at chapel, which garnered great reviews.

“The preview was very good and I was able to see my friends perform for the first time,” Richard Wu (‘23) said. “My favorite part was when they played the Pixar mashup, especially the song from Ratatouille. The song choice really appealed to its audience.”

The harmonious combination of sounds from each section of the performance was developed from a semester of practice. Students taking courses for the Sinfonia Orchestra or Chamber Singers devoted two to three class blocks a week to hone their skills before performing for the concert. Besides practical skills, the various performing groups developed trust and community together.

“I trusted [the other singers],” Naomi Kang (‘24) said. “I believed that we weren’t going to mess up because we always had really good outcomes during practices. I have stage fright, but I didn’t feel nervous at all.”

After a year online, building connections in-person within the orchestra and singers helped to bring the best out of each student. Students were only able to see and hear through screens during the 2020-2021 school year, so playing with fellow musicians made this year’s concert special.

“It was strange going from playing in front of a screen with no one to perform to and then hearing the sound in-person,” Jeff Baek (‘23) said. “I think our concert was successful because I’m sure there was a lot of people who enjoyed having us on stage and actually performing live.”

Faculty who also doubled as conductors felt the students’ excitement through their performance. Each song chosen by teachers had challenges, like how speed and timing had to be perfected with a large group, but students and educators overcame these challenges over the semester and in the moment during the concert.

Overall, teachers enjoyed seeing students listening to others, listening to themselves, and listening to the music.

“My favorite part [of the concert] always is the same,” said Linda Silva, Director of Instrumental Music. “And that’s seeing the light go on for students, having a student take a brand-new piece of music that they’ve never seen before, and working towards a performance while gaining skills and working collaboratively.”

By the time the full-length concert arrived, performers and conductors put in their best effort to impress the audience.

“After a whole semester of practicing, you really see the pieces come together and you work on dynamics and making it come alive,” said Karen Chen (’23), concertmaster of the strings orchestra. “I think that’s very beautiful.”

Describing the sounds alone would not do the performers justice, so here is a video and a photo gallery of the concert for you to enjoy until next year’s concert rolls around.