Reader Contributed Schools

Candlelight Concert Tradition Ushers in the Holiday Season

Kingswood Oxford Candlelight Concert. Photo credit: Greg Scranton

West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford School welcomed the holiday season with a candlelight concert.

Kingswood Oxford Candlelight Concert. Photo credit: Greg Scranton

Submitted by Jackie Pisani, Kingswood Oxford School 

After a last year’s hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, Kingswood Oxford’s beloved Candlelight Concert ushered in the holiday season in the Roberts Theater this past Sunday, Dec. 5. The Middle School and Upper School string orchestra, the all-women’s Voce Novissima, male and female choir Outlook performed an array of orchestral and choral music. Orchestra Director Richard Chiarappa and Choir Directors David Baker and Steve Mitchell produced the concert, now in its 37th year.

The concert showcased the amazing breadth of talent of the KO students and illustrated the steady progression of musical ability and expression from the Middle School to Upper School performers.

Kingswood Oxford Candlelight Concert. Photo credit: Greg Scranton

To set the tone for the evening, the  Middle School string orchestra performed the delightful “Dance of the Tumblers” from Rimky-Korsakoff’s opera The Snow Maiden followed by Wagner’s “March of the Meistersingers.”

The lighthearted spirit continued with Voce Novissma’s “My Favorite Things” and “Jingle Bells (Sort Of).” Mozart’s Eine Klein Nachtmusik was turned on its ear with an arrangement that included an abundance of holiday fa-la-las and ho-hos.

Kingswood Oxford Candlelight Concert. Photo credit: Greg Scranton

They rounded out the performance with three songs: the hauntingly beautiful folk song “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” the “Season of Light” which invoked the feeling of a simple holiday carol, and brought it home with an old school Motown vibe of Curtis Mayfield’s “It’s Alright” with a duet by Gabrielle Abramson and Morgan Siegal, soloist Faith Potter and accompanied by Nate Wesh on piano.

The evening was capped off with three pieces convincingly performed by the Upper School String Orchestra Haydn’s exquisite “La Chasse” and two works created by KO maestro Rich Chiarappa “Conversation for Violin and Viola” and “Romp for Strings” that featured a good-natured (and supremely undiscovered talent) of Head of School Tom Dillow on the triangle.

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