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  • Howard 3:10 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Disneyland Survival 

    We didn’t make it to Disneyland on Leap Day but a couple of our friends survived the capacity crowds Wednesday and were there also for the park closing on Saturday morning where a paper towel shaped object with a “spiritual message” caused quite a scare.

    Trams were blocked up with crowds of people not knowing that it is a short walk to the Mickey and Friends parking lot where you’ll find scariest ride at the park:

    Apparently there was an unreported incident or accident on the M&F escalator requiring a cleanup crew in “Ghost Buster’s” white environmental suits to mop up a nasty mess.

    We nearly took a spill on the same “ride” when it seized so we avoid it and now walk down the stairs; cut across the parking lot to Downtown Disney and enter the park at the Monorail station.  Coming back we don’t mind taking the escalator up since climbing back up the five flights of stairs after spending a day at park is troublesome.

  • Howard 3:07 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    2011 Candlelight Processional 

    This year our church wasn’t selected to participate in Disney’s 2011 Candlelight Processional, but there is a good chance that my wife and I are going to be in the center of Main Street singing along with the other choirs.

    Main Street: Disney Candlelight Processional

    I took this photo on Sunday the day after we sang in the 2009 Processional. The best place is right there if you can get a ticket for a seat, but you want to stay on stage right so trees don’t block your view.

    • Joel 12:04 am on December 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Howard,
      I am interested in some of the arrangements used in the program. Do you recall who wrote the arrangement of The First Noel? Or any of the other arrangements in the program?

      • Howard 5:09 pm on December 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        The First Noel was arranged and orchestrated by Don Neufeld of Azusa Pacific University. The complete list of processional music can be found here.

  • Howard 11:29 pm on December 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2010 (VIDEOS) 

    Many thanks to 3catower to recording the Saturday December 5 8:00 PM Candlelight presentation. With rain predicted on Sunday, we decided to skip Candlelight.  It was raining in Ventura Co. and from the radar map, it looked like it was raining during both the at the 5:30 and 8:00 shows.


    Begins Tom Skerrit reading Lk 2:8-12, followed by “He is born”. Next reading is Lk 2:13-14, and then “Angels We Have Heard on High”. 3rd reading is Lk 2:15-17 and “What Child is This”

    Reading from Matt. 2:1-8, “We Three Kings”, Reading Matt. 2:9-11, “Sing Noel”, “Joy to the World”

    “Silent Night”
    Noche de paz, noche de amor,
    Todo duerme en derredor.
    Entre sus astros que esparcen su luz
    Bella anunciando al niñito Jesús.
    Brilla la estrella de paz,
    Brilla la estrella de paz.
    Then in English with the audience.
    “One Solitary LIfe” based on writing of James Allan Francis, 1926 read by Tom Skeritt. Followed by variation of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”

    Reading Isaiah 9:6 followed by “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah”. We all stand when this number begins. Then Thank you’s and closing remarks by Tom Skerrit.

    • Richard Mynderup 1:16 am on December 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Greetings Howard,

      Thanks for sharing the video clips. Splendid as ever!! I was thinking about Candlelight last night as I was up on my roof installing my Santa clad Mickey, Minnie, and Tinkerbell, Goofy and new additions this year…Donald, caroling Pooh and Piglet.

      Glad you were able to attend and enjoy the beautiful sounds…

      Richard Mynderup

  • Howard 12:33 am on November 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    Three weeks to Candlelight 

    If you are participating the 2010 Candlelight Processional, you should have your part memorized and ready to sing in one of the regional practices just before the big event.

    This year I’m not singing at Candlelight but I’m going to be there on Sunday December 5 to cheer on our Choir Director’s Church (SDA Camarillo).   Some of our choir is singing with his to fill in a few vacancies.  Hopefully I’ll get some nice pictures.

    Last year we stayed Friday and Saturday night at the Disneyland Hotel and sang on Saturday evening.  It was very relaxing staying there and was especially nice not driving home that night after the long day of rehearsals and two performances.  I would recommend staying in Anaheim if you can.

    • OCTechguy (Alan) 9:54 pm on December 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Howard, I did attend last night, Dec 4 and recorded the 8 pm program. I am uploading to Youtube now. This time I used a better camera and got a great seat where I could at least see 3 of the trumpets on the roof. Hope this helps. Alan

      • Howard 11:20 pm on December 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Excellent as usual.

  • Howard 2:11 am on September 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
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    2010 Disneyland Candlelight Processional Audition 

    We cut our audition tape for the 2010 Candlelight Processional.   We recorded Ding Dong Merrily on High singing the first verse unison women, second verse unison men; and the third verse SATB.  The refrain was SATB.

    If Disney selects our choir, it will be the third time at Candlelight for us.

    • Richard 2:51 am on October 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Howard…

      I just left another inquiry regarding Candlelight.

      Let us know if your choir was selected. Unfortunately mine was not…We’ll try again next year.


      • Howard 3:04 am on October 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Howard,

        I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. My choir has auditioned for the Candlelight every year and for the past 12 years and we have had the honor of being accepted three times. We are more northern than most choirs and am wondering if you think DL is utilizing mostly Southern CA choirs.

        I always think my choirs record a great audition but are then dissapointed to find out we haven’t made it. There is very little known about the audition process other than it is a blind audition. However, after doing some research it seems there are quite a few repeat choirs year after year.

        If you can shed a little light on this for me I’d be most appreciative. I’m just at the point of thinking it’s not worth the trouble of trying to audition if choirs out of the DL area are not going to be selected.

        Thanks for your time and input.


        • Howard 3:36 am on October 16, 2010 Permalink

          Hi Richard,

          I’m sorry to hear that your Choir was not selected. The selection is a blind process and auditions are from all over the country and are not selected based on geography.

          All CD’s are relabeled with a plain white label and numbered that was assigned to the choir. This removes all identification of who and where the Choir is from. The audition team then listens to each recording and makes a pile of CD’s which have passed or failed. Many are rejected because the fail to meet the SATB requirement. Some choirs have few members or are only a quartet which lacks that “choral sound” Disney is looking for.

          Once selected, they then look at how many seats are available. Normally about 150 Disney employees audition but this year over 300 employees auditioned and most likely will displace many choirs.

          Even though you think your audition tape was excellent — like ours — and made to the selection process, Disney still has to narrow down the choices. This usually is done by placing a choir that has never been at Candlelight at the top of the stack verses those who have been through it before.

          I’m sure that there is more to it than that. But that is all I know from talking to some of Disney employees.


    • Richard 4:06 am on October 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your response and explanation. So, I can I take from what you say about the number of Disney employees choir members that they get 1st priority along with new choirs that haven’t participated before? My choir totaled 70 which is larger than before so I was a bit worried we might be too big as one choir. I’m usually at around 50 in number but my program has grown this year.

      Is the mass choir for each night between 700 and 800 or is it smaller like 350 to 400? I’m trying to remember the last time we performed how large it looked. My first choir to be selected performed in the Fantasy Land theater so the choir was quite a bit smaller…like 350.

      Was your choir selected?


      • Howard 4:38 am on October 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        The Disney employees dress in green robes and make up the Christmas Tree at stage center. They also have row leaders. Some participate in both shows but some rotate out singing once. The additional employees will be inter dispersed with the choirs.

        Last year there was six or seven sections each containing about 100 members. So I guess it would be more like 700 each night.

        I’ll know Sunday morning if we were selected.


    • Richard 5:04 am on October 16, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      You have been most helpful. Being more in the Central California area I was beginning to think my choir and one other that I know of were the only ones auditioning. This made us think that we just too far and were being eliminated due to geography. But your explanation seems quite natural and I think it’s great that 1st time choirs get a priority. I think it is absolutely wonderful for all that get to experience performing in this event.

      I’m not saying that my choir is perfect but they do work hard and have a good sound. I just know it’s tough facing them with the rejection portion of this experience. One of the years we were selected I didn’t think we had a chance because I didn’t think my choir sounded all that great….but we got the call. Other times I knew we had it in the bag and there was no call.

      My choir members that have had the privelage to be a part of this event, always tell me it was on of the highlights of their choral experience with me.

      I wish your choir the best of luck and hope that the news is good news this Sunday.

      Again, thanks for your reply and I look forward to following your continued blog.


      • Howard 5:23 pm on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Unfortunately, we were not selected this year. Our Choir Director submitted two recordings — one for his church and one for ours — and his church was selected. He felt that our church had a better recording but that was not the case.

        Apparently there were close to 100 choirs who auditioned this year and all submitted excellent audition tapes. A new choir from Green Hills, NV passed audition process. From what I hear, they are quite exceptional.

        Perhaps next year we’ll both do better.


    • Richard 1:50 am on October 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry to hear you won’t be performing this year. It is a bummer when we don’t get selected, but also a joy when we do.

      Again, I appreciate your insight into some of the process. I was under the impression after our first acceptance that only about 40-50 choirs auditioned. But it sounds like many more than that do.

      So we will just try harder next year and hope for the best, but with a little background knowledge that our not being accepted has a bit more to do than just us.

      Take care and best wishes


  • Howard 2:42 am on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2009 (VIDEOS), Jon Voight   

    Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2009 (VIDEOS) 

    It was a long weekend and I was glad to hear that “3catowner” recorded the 2009 Disneyland Candlelight Processional again!  Candlelight is a long process from audition to months of practicing ending with long 9 hr day at Disneyland to present two shows at 5:30 and 8:00 PM the first weekend of December.

    This set of videos was recorded on Saturday at the 8:00 PM show.  I believe that this was the better performance of the two if you were lucky to see this one. I was in Section 6, Row P, Seat 17 which was very row top stage left (City Hall side), 5th from the end.

    Candlelight Preprocession Video

    This is the pre-procession arrangement which Nancy is directing the Candlelight Orchestra.  Just prior to this, the Candlelight Choirs which are participating are announced.  The Choir is singing carols during this time starting from Mickey’s Toontown (at 5:00 PM) or from Tomorrowland (at 7:55 PM) and ending up at the start of Main Street.

    Candlelight Processional Video 2

    In this video, we’re processing from the top of Main Street out of the exit by the Plaza Inn resturant after about an hour rest between shows.   We carefully wind ourselfs through a maze trying not to trip over something.  You can barely see me at about 1:50 in the video, but you can clearly hear Jim Wilber who is about 6 in front of me.  Jim is the Candlelight Employee Director who also a member of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Choir.

    The very second we all get into the risers, Nancy kicks off the show with Sing Praise to Him Our Lord. Jon Voight is narrator.

    Candlelight Video: The First Noel

    This is a very beautiful arrangement the the First Noel by Don Neufeld of Azusa Pacific University.  (I was glad to see and hear that APU was part of Candlelight Choir this year!)

    Candlelight Carol Video

    I believe that a Tenor from the Dapper Dans did the male soloist.  I didn’t catch who sang the female solo.

    Beautiful, but our section simply could do better…

    Candlelight Videos: He is Born (Il Est Ne) / Angels We Have Heard On High.

    Nancy crack a big grin after we finished singing Il Est Ne and Angels We Have Heard On High.  This was much better than the grimace she gave us at the 5:30 performance.

    Candlelight Videos: What Child is This/We Three Kings

    Candlelight Videos: Sing Noel/Joy To The World

    Candlelight Silent Night Video

    I thought something was weird at the end …the soloist was off a measure and had to cut off his high b-flat a measure early.

    Candlelight Let Us Adore Him/Hallelujah Chorus Videos

    Thank you Alan “3catowner” for shooting the Candlelight Videos!

    • DZEnglish 8:13 pm on December 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks so much for posting this video! I absolutely LOVE the Candlelight event. The first year I saw it was 2005, with Dick Van Dyke as the celebrity narrator.

      The event isn’t posted in the daily entertainment schedule, so I was pleasantly surprised when walking down Main St. USA and heard Dick Van Dyke talking about Jesus, Mary and Joseph over the speaker system. Its so refreshing to see that Jesus hasn’t been completely stripped from Christmas – at least not at Disneyland. :)
      The only thing that could have been better would have been Julie Andrews as a co-narrator. :)

    • Howard 9:47 pm on December 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome. It’s so much better in person.

  • Howard 5:15 am on November 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Disneyland Employee Choir is Awesome 

    Last Monday, I rehearsed Candlelight with the awesome Disneyland Employee Choir from the Burbank area.  I was surprised that I knew the majority of the arrangements by heart and only circled a few places where I missed a rest or a note.

    I was seated in the 2nd Tenor section so I had to double check the music several times to make sure that I was on pitch when the 1st and 2nd Tenors split and I was reading 1st.

    I know I was on pitch but I seemed to confuse one of the rookie 2nds who was in the process of learning the music until I told him I was singing 1st.  I need to learn the second part since those notes a much easier to hit without squeaking them out.

    They went over with the Choir what you can and can’t wear.  Turn of your cell phone. What day to sign up.  Can you sing two at two performances?  (We have to sing at both.) Etc.

    One  hundred sixty singers make up the “Christmas Tree” and you have to be under 5′ (or was it over?) if you want to be the star at the top of the tree.

    The intermission between performances is usually in the Mr. Lincoln attraction, but it is moved this year to “Honey I shrunk the Kid,” or “It’s a Bug Life.”  This is good since the Mr. Lincoln attraction is somewhat cramped for 500 Choir members.

    Disneyland is not offering the Candlelight Dinner Package though their Hotel Restaurants this year to get the reserved seating, but you can get reserved seats if you’re a D23 member.

    Jon Voight is the Candlelight Narrator this year.

    Next Monday, I’ll get to practice with the entire 250 Employee Choir combined from both Orange, LA and other surrounding counties.  The whole room will be filled but not segregated into SATB sections as in normal rehearsals.  It should be as close to real thing without the orchastra.

    • Geren Piltz 11:53 pm on November 25, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Howard,

      Thanks for the great blog posts about Candlelight preparation. This will be my 11th year at the procession, coming down from Santa Barbara to sing. I’ll look forward to singing with you on Sunday the 6th.


  • Howard 2:16 pm on November 6, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    One Month Until Candlelight 2009 

    There’s just one short month left for practicing for Disney’s Candlelight Procession. If you don’t have the arrangements memorized by now, you need to work extra hard and get some extra practice in.

    Last night we practiced the last two arrangements along with Sing Noel.  I have about 95% of the music committed to memory and it’s always fun missing those notes watching the expression on our Choir Director’s face.

    The last two arrangements are hard on my voice (especially the Hallelujah Chorus) since they were written for a First Tenor and my top range is about a F# or perhaps an A-Natural on a good night.  Forget anything above an E-flat early in the morning and I’m usually referring to the piano keyboard layout to find the middle-C until the coffee kicks in.

    We’re extending choir practice an extra 1/2 hour so that we can read the whole Processional and get enough time in to practice our anthems and Christmas program.

    We’re also fortunate to have Jim Wibur, the Disney Employee Choir Director, as a member of  our Choir since he knows all four parts by heart.  Perhaps we’ll have a rehearsal with his Choir…

    With only one month to go, there’s very little time left.  Four or five rehearsals left then the Regional Rehearsal at Holy Trinity.  The Candlelight recording sure do help but the rehearsals is where the fine tuning takes place.

    Keep rehearsing for the Big Day!

  • Howard 5:01 am on October 4, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    2009 Disneyland Candlelight Audition Tape 

    Thursday we heard the Disneyland candlelight audition tape that was submitted for the 2009 Processional.  It sounded very good indeed!  Of course, we participated in the 2008 Candlelight, so we knew the music by heart.  There is a high probability that we’re heading back to Disneyland for a second time.  But you never know since Disney tends to rotate new Choirs in for better area participation.

    Regardless, we’re going to watch the Sunday Night 2009 Candlelight since our Disneyland Annual Passport is not blocked out that for that day.  If we do make it this year, we’ll probably sing in the mass choir on Saturday and spend the night down in Anaheim either at the Grand Hotel or another hotel in the park.

    It was a very tiring day spending 3 hours in the backlot plus 2 hours of singing.  By the time we got out of the park it was nearly 9:30 PM and had enough time to go back to the car and re-enter for a few rides and fireworks.  Next time, I’m going to be prepared, relaxed and enjoy it.

  • Howard 2:58 pm on September 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply
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    Candlelight Audition Tape 

    The Disneyland Candlelight Processional 2009 audition process is fairly simple:  Submit two recordings, one which your Choir or School has recently recorded and one that Disney provides the arrangement.  Both demonstrate the SATB capabilities of your singing group.

    With the audition tapes due Oct. 1, our Choir decided to audition at the last minute by recording Sunday’s Anthem and Disney’s arrangement of What Child is This.  The women sing the solo parts, then SATB per what is arranged in the Candlelight, back to the men singing the solo parts.  The we finish the arrangement as written except where the Choir normally “Ohhs” the Choir sings the solo parts.

    I’m sure both or our recordings went pretty well (except where I did an Ohh instead of the solo part ;) and we should hear back from Disney in a few weeks if we were accepted.

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