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Norwalk High's 'Candlelight' Brightens Season

Not long ago Jenn Burkhalter played cello for the Norwalk High School orchestra.   On Monday, Burkhalter will lead and conduct the same orchestra for  'Candlelight', the annual winter concert. "As an alum, I know what a big deal Candlelight is," says Burkhalter who returned to NHS this fall as the school's new orchestra director.

"Candlelight"  features 600 members of the school's orchestra, chorus and band. You can attend performances at 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The concert features two first-year music directors this year. Neither are newcomers: new marching band director Chris Rivera and  Burkhalter are both NHS graduates and former students of Susan Pettibone, chair of the school's music department.

Burkhalter studied music education and cello performance at Ithaca College and taught at another high school before returning to Norwalk. "I'm excited to take this orchestra to an even higher level," she says.

The audience can expect a wide assortment of music, says Pettibone. "We do selections that include Christmas, Hanukkah, the Three Kings and Kwanzaa. Some are solemn, and some are silly. We do this in order to reach everyone in the audience." Traditionally, the concert ends with senior soloists performing "O, Holy Night" and the "Hallelujah Chorus."

"Candlelight" is the oldest high school winter concert in New England. It began in Norwalk in the 1930s and has been performed every year, with the exception of two years during World War II, when lights-out regulations silenced it.

The concert will be performed in the Norwalk High auditorium. Tickets cost $4. For preorders, contact the music department at 203-838-4481. The doors will be closed to admission at 7:50 p.m. Additional parking is available at Andrews Field and Naramake School.

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