Thursday, December 13, 2007
JUNIOR HIGH CANDLE AND CAROL SERVICES
First of all, I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to call and comment
on my "Remember When" stories. It's been so fun to think back and put my memories down on
paper. Glad you have enjoyed them.
STUDENTS GETTING READY TO MARCH WITH CANDLES INTO THE GYM
This week I was thinking about Christmas and how fast it is creeping (more like running)
up on us and I remember when I was in Jr. High School, the season kind of got kicked off with
the "Annual Candle Services" Oh I looked forward to those services.
The Payson Jr. High School at that time was in the building across the street west of the park. (Where the new church stands now). The seventh, eighth, and ninth grades went there to school. The week before Christmas was when these Candle Services were held. (Those were the days that they didn't start so early (like before Halloween) to get ready for Christmas.
We would practice for weeks before and then the night of the "Candle Services" we
would meet up in the home economics room and when it was time to start, we would each be
given a white candle and then form two lines and go down the stairs toward the gym. Just before
we entered the gym, two of the teachers would be standing on each side of the door and would
light out candles. We would then march in and sit on risers there in the gymnasium. The audience would set up in the balcony and look down to watch the show. The lights were off and there were just the candles lit as we walked in. It was a beautiful sight and very touching. We would then snuff out our candles and the lights would come on for us to sing.
I remember how we were warned to be EXTREMELY careful not to get to close to the one in front of us so as to not catch their hair on fire. (or anything else) The must was always so beautiful and really got you in the Christmas spirit. When I was there Rees Olson was the music director and his sister Crista was the accompanist.
As I did a little research, I found out that the candle services were started in 1932 with
Carl O. Nelson and Al Payne being the music people. The Candle Services continued until the
Christmas of 1966.
During the first few years (Until 1945) an outstanding citizen was honored at the candle
services. They would be presented with a large 2-3 foot candle and a poem was read that went
“These candles are a symbol true
Of life, and truth, and love Of Him
who shed His shining light On earth
from heaven above.
Brightly they burn in steady flame
That you may catch their glow,
And give to others of their light That love like His may grow.”
I was talking to Carl Nelson Jr. and he told me his dad had received one of these candles as the outstanding citizen. He brought it home and placed it in a corner and one night Jr. and his sister Joyce were rough housing and knocked the candle over and broke it. Needless to say his father was not happy with them.
Al Payne and Christa Amos
Another story that was given to me was one year when Reed Jones was principal, Crista Amos who was the accompanist for the choir, got sick and could not come to the services so Mr. Jones had to hurry and find someone who could step in and play for them. He call Juliene Harding, a high school student, and she did a beautiful job of accompanying the students.
Crista had an old pump organ she kept in her room at school and they would lug that thing into the gym and she would accompany on that and the piano. In 1960, when Stan Wilson was principal, they decided that the candles might be to dangerous (after 28 years), so he had Vernon Finch who was the shop teacher make some wooden candles. Vernon said he took wooden dowels and drilled them out and placed a battery and bulb in them. So now they would not worry about catching something on fire, but they were never as effective and beautiful as the real candles and the flickering light they made.
I had memories of Huish Moore making big batches of caramels in a large copper kettle in the home economics room when we were rehearsing. I couldn't find anyone who remembered that so I was beginning to think I was pipe dreaming but when I talked to Vernon Finch (who also makes delicious caramels to) he verified that I was right. Huish did make caramels and would treat the faculty with them (he never offered any to the students)
Kevin Kay’s mom told me he always felt bad because the one year he couldn't sing in the services and had practiced long and hard, he had to miss them because of emergency surgery.
Vernon Finch went in as principal of the Jr. High for one year and then moved up to the high school and Richard LaMar Wilson came in as principal. Wilson didn't want to do the candle services any more so 1966 was the end of the long tradition of the Candle Services.
Isn't fun to remember when.................