This song represents one of the proudest moments in our company"s history. We are very fond of it and we sincerely hope that all of our subscribers and customers get the P/A cassette or CD so they can hear the wonderful recording we put together. Besides just producing a nice piece of music, we once again used one of our extremely talented young singers, Katy Gentry, as a featured soloist. (For those of you who received last year"s November/December issue, Katy was the soloist on "Harmony" and we did a sidebar on her. She was 14 when she sang this year.) Our intentions in using someone of Katy"s abilities as a soloist are multiple: 1) we are hoping to provide a solid example to other potential soloists, 2) we"re absolutely positive that many schools out there have budding young singers of their own to showcase, and 3) we really enjoy listening to her. We"re betting your students will feel the same way.
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Lest you be intimidated by the solo work, we would like to remind you that it is, as always, completely optional. The lines are written so that they can be performed in unison with no trouble. You could also choose to highlight multiple soloists, breaking the solo lines up into sections throughout. Or, you could select a duet, trio, etc., to perform simultaneously. Whatever works.
This song evolved as an answer to the yearly question - what can we do for the holiday season? As you are probably quite aware, we have schools across the country with various emphases. Some celebrate Christmas, some do not. Others focus on Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, etc. It dawned on us that the one thing most of these celebrations have in common is the use of candles. So then we thought, wouldn"t it be nice if we could add one celebration to our respective celebrations that includes all of us together? How could such a thing manifest itself? By lighting candles, of course! Can you imagine the global glow that would be produced if everyone were to light a candle all around the world on the same day at the same time? Pretty neat thought, isn"t it?
We have provided a rather lengthy introduction to the song for an optional candle lighting ceremony. It"s very gentle, with wistful melodies and progressions. It slowly builds into the full rhythm introduction, first with the addition of African and Latin percussion, as well as drum set, just before measure 13. If you listen, you can hear the sounds of an udu and congas in the undercurrent. The addition of the soprano sax at 13 also contributes to the worldly, ethereal feeling. By measure 21, the dynamic has built to a forte, the rhythm section is fully in and playing a light rock background, and your singers and candle lighters should be ready to sing.
The soloist"s line is consistently located as part 1. At measure 45, that line is out until the second time at 45 when it becomes the "echo" to the unison line (part 2). Listening to the recording will help identify how the vocal parts fit together. The unison parts are very singable throughout.
In all cases of the solo, the line is flexible and should be sung freely. It is recommended that your soloist be given the opportunity to ad lib after the key change, particularly from measure 91 to the end. Again, Katy is an excellent example of how to "let go" when improvising over the final measures. For the best effect, save the real exciting stuff for the very end. Building is the key.
At measure 75, claps are indicated on beat 3. Have all your performers join in and encourage the audience as well. These claps can be performed up in the air over their heads with gentle side to side rocking, typical of rock anthems. Stop the claps when the word "shine" is held out at the end. Have your students join their hands and hold them up over their heads for a powerful ending.
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Editor"s note: We are aware that candles and fire are dangerous, especially in a school setting. That is why we recommend great caution if you decide to use candles. Perhaps you could only use one or a few in the front of the performance area, well away from anything flammable. Talk to your principal and maybe even get the fire department to show up, just in case. At the very least, fire extinguishers close at hand are a good idea. (Last Christmas, several of us visited a neighboring church that used small candles in its ceremony. Every member of the congregation was given one and we all held them during one song. They were lit at the ends of the rows and the flame was passed along. Each candle had a small paper collar so the wax wouldn"t drip on hands. Fortunately, there were no problems and the effect was astounding.)
If you would rather not use lit candles, you could simulate candles. Make some out of cardboard or paper, including the flame. (Get that art teacher and her class involved!) Or, you could have some or all of your students hold flashlights. Check with your band director for battery powered candles. The use of candles at all is completely up to you, and you may prefer to just have pictures of them on the wall behind your performance area.