Unsung heroes of choir program work behind scenes of Candlelight Night Fundraiser


Parents, friends, supporters, and choir alumni alike gather around dimly candlelit tables as a plethora of voices surround them. As the audience becomes entranced by the Camerata and Bel Canto choirs’ performance of their combined piece, “Noel”, a plate of traditional, homemade lasagna is placed in front of each guest, without them even noticing. The servers, cooks, and decorators behind the scenes of this reputable event are none other than the students of the non-auditioned,  Men’s and Women’s choruses. According to director Clint Pianalto, these students are essential in making one of the program’s largest traditions and fundraisers, Candlelight Night, run seamlessly. 

“Men’s and Women’s Choruses are so vital in the production of Candlelight Night because they are in charge of all the food service and decorations,” Pianalto said. “Plus, they run the whole event and even come out and get to sing a few times in it.”

According to the Choir Event Coordinator, senior Brooklyne Goad, Men’s Chorus is responsible for setting up tables and working in the kitchen, and Women’s Chorus is in charge of serving food and drinks. Students across all choirs have been involved in the preparations for this event, from rehearsing music and spotlight solos, to even meeting after school to assemble the lasagna.

“Making the lasagna actually went by really fast,” senior Ella Kraft said. “There were probably about 10 to 15 of us there.  There were less at the beginning, but more people piled in and then we had a few different stations.”

According to Pianalto, including all students in the process of Candlelight Night is key in creating a stronger sense of community across the program.

“Our goal is to make an overarching program where everyone feels like they’re a part of the whole thing,”  Pianalto said. “We want Women’s and Men’s Choruses to know that they’re just as important as the top kids in Camerata. They have to be part of it by working and serving now, but there’s always that chance for them to grow and build up and be in the singing next year.”

According to Pianalto, this tradition also is one of the program’s largest fundraisers and makes a big difference for students across the program. Men’s chorus captain, senior Trevor Cain, believes that utilizing students as workers and servers creates a more honest look for the choir, as opposed to hiring people outside the program to help. 

“I don’t think it’d be as impactful if  Men’s Chorus was also singing in the event and we had different people cooking and cleaning up after everybody,” Cain said. “I think it will show integrity, and I think that’s a really important thing to have in the choral program, especially if we want to raise more money.” 

According to Goad, the event is more than just a show or fundraiser.

“It brings the choir family together,” Goad said. “We all get to know each other better in the process of the huge effort it takes to put the event together.”