Singers and musicians brighten December with Candlelight Concert


Matthew Gaw

The Webb Schools orchestra and chamber singers at their final rehearsal before their performance. Graphic courtesy of Vivien Xi

With the first semester of the school year coming to a close, students, family, and faculty were finally able to witness the musical side of Webbies at the annual Candlelight Concert, featuring the chamber singers and school orchestra. Aside from regular rehearsals during class time, the orchestra and chamber singers had yet to make a public appearance, up until last week’s chapel preview and Sunday’s full concert. 

On Sunday, December 8th, the annual Candlelight Concert was hosted in Liu Cheung Theater. To fit the winter and festive theme, virtual snow was projected falling down the black brick walls onto the carpeted floor. The Candlelight Concert was divided into two parts, one for each performing group.

The Webb Schools orchestra includes students from all grade levels and three sections: strings, woodwinds, and percussion. The orchestral part of Candlelight Concert included 11 different pieces, conducted by Linda Silva, Director of Instrumental Music, and Kyle Champion, the orchestra conductor

Nicole Chen (‘21), the orchestra concertmaster, said, “We are so fortunate this year for having such a diverse group of musicians and instruments. This allowed our pieces to sound full and professional, but it also challenged us to listen and communicate better with each other. ”

The orchestra kicked off the Candlelight Concert with the lively piece, “Overture from Orpheus in the Underworld” by J. Offenbach. The overture soon moved to an ornamental passage for a clarinet solo played by Roy Zhang (‘22). An oboe solo by Jonathan Zhang (‘21) then ensued and took over the audience’s attention. 

The second to last piece, “Sinfonia in B Minor” by J. S. Bach, highlighted Nina Luo (‘22) and the string section. After Kyle Champion introduced Nina to the audience, Nina and the string section began their piece with a fast tempo. 

Finally, the orchestra concluded the first half of the concert with an all-encompassing piece of “Around the World at Christmas Time” by Bruce Chase. The piece smoothly connected various Christmas-themed pieces from different countries. 

For those who are unfamiliar with Webb’s music program, students of the 10th grade and above have the opportunity to audition for Honors Chamber Singers as a fine arts elective. The choir consists of 23 students across four different voice parts – soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. This year they took a different approach to the concert, focusing heavily on holiday-themed songs to embrace the festivities. 

Their performance consisted of 11 pieces, including small group projects where the students sang Christmas songs of their choice and choral pieces exhibiting their collaborative voices. They even explored different languages such as this German carol, “Es ist Ein Ros Entsprungen;” Spanish carol, “Riu Riu Chiu;” and Hebrew song’ “Shalom Chaverim”. 

Joey Silva (‘21), bass section leader, said, “Last year we had a bit of a problem with the lack of male voices, but this year we got a couple of new voices and it’s looking a lot better.” 

While most pieces were older, slow-flowing pieces, there was also a pop-song performed by Joey, Jackson Malicay (‘21), Jenna Zhao (‘20), and Jenna Hawkes (‘21). They performed a harmonic arrangement of Justin Beiber’s “Mistletoe” with guitar accompaniment from Jackson.

When asked about his favorite piece, Joey said, “I really like the rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ that we did, it’s kind of creative and it’s a little out of the box. When all the parts come together it sounds super cool.”

The performance was more than just a simple event for the many students performing in it. The concert was a wrap for students’ hard work in the Sinfonia orchestra or chamber singers throughout the fall semester. With winter break approaching, the Candlelight Concert provided a relaxing atmosphere for the Webb community, allowing  students to regain the motivation needed to push through the final two weeks of school.