Raising Cane With the Choir
Do you have the Christmas spirit yet? Maybe you need a little pick-me-up from all the hustle and bustle of the season? Well, here’s a little story about candy canes that’s sure to make you smile. So pop one of these sugary treats in your mouth and give it a read. Then find out about the recent activities of the local choir in Leadville Today. Happy Christmas Eve!
In the Beginning was The Cane
In 1670, a German choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral was having a difficult time of it. You see, while everyone in the congregation adored the musical renderings of their sweet children, particularly during the Christmas season, the choirmaster found it difficult to keep the students quiet during the long church services. As with most young children, sitting stoically still and angelically quiet through Mass was tough.
Why not put something in their mouths, the choirmaster thought? Supposedly he gave the younger children sugar sticks. Back then, sugar was a precious – and expensive – commodity and was typically reserved for holidays like Christmas. It was a special treat for these young choir members. And in honor of Christmas, he had the candies bent into the shape of shepherds’ staffs.
And that’s how candy canes got their unique shape: the shepherd’s crook. After all, it was to the herders of sheep that the angel appeared to on the night of Christ’s birth. It was the shepherds who were the first visitors to worship at the crib of the newborn King. Why not pay homage to these watchmen by forming sugar sticks into the shape of their staffs?
There are many other legends and beliefs surrounding the humble candy cane. Many of them depict these holiday treats as a secret symbol for Christianity used during the times when Christians were living under more oppressive circumstances. It was said that the cane was shaped like a “J” for Jesus. The red-and-white stripes represented Christ’s blood and purity. The three red stripes symbolized the Holy Trinity. The hardness of the candy represented the Church’s foundation on solid rock and the peppermint flavor represented the use of hyssop, an herb referred to in the Old Testament.
While there is no historical evidence to support these claims, what we do know is that the first historical reference to the candy cane being in America goes back to 1847, when a German immigrant called August Imgard decorated the Christmas tree in his Ohio home with candy canes.
About fifty years later the first red-and-white-striped candy canes appeared. No one knows exactly who invented the stripes, but Christmas cards indicate that prior to the year 1900 only all-white candy canes were available. Holiday cards after 1900 show illustrations of striped candy canes. Around the same time, candy-makers added peppermint and wintergreen flavors to these treats making them the traditional favorites even today. However, the assortment has grown through the years to include apple, watermelon, cinnamon, strawberry, and even sour candy canes!
For some, it’s the individually wrapped packaging – the single canes – that is most interesting. Once they are cut into the correct length, the candy is placed in wrappers while still warm and it’s the heat of the candy that actually shrinks the wrappers, creating a tight, custom-designed fit. It’s only after the packaging has been sealed that the canes move to a crooker, which will give the candy its shepherd’s hook.
So when the crazy commercialism of the season gets to you, grab one of these candied shepherd staffs and take five, to think about the true meaning of Christmas. Tis the season. In The ‘Ville!
Performing Arts Department Hits the High Notes
Music lovers had a chance to hear the high school choir students sing at several shows during the Christmas season. Not only did the musical troupe showcase their talents at the annual school performance, but they also entertained the crowds around town at Chamber events and popping in and out of stores around Leadville. The students seem to excel under the leadership of Scott Carroll, the Director of Choral and Theatre Activities and their professionalism shows with each note. The choir will be headed to Carnegie Hall this spring as part of a trip to New York City. Here’s their latest news straight from the holiday program. Please support their efforts.
The Lake County High School Performing Arts Department has grown immensely over the past five years with student participation and community engagement. Program participation varies from 80-120 students per season. The program has multiple components that services students would not be able to find these opportunities in the community of Leadville and Lake County. From a robust choral and theater program, students have the opportunity to learn skills such as work ethic, communication, presentation, community engagement, and commitment. Students have the opportunity to work with outside professionals who have made a career in the performing arts, and in turn, can explore the possibility of having a career themselves.
Some of these professionals have sung and/or worked backstage of the Metropolitan Opera, Broadway and major opera companies throughout the United States and Europe.
Over the past four years, the Performing Arts Department has produced reductions of Seussical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, Annie, and this season Into The Woods. These productions have been made possible from generous local sponsors, ticket sales, grants, and donations.
The Lake County High School Performing Arts Department strives to give its students and community the highest quality entertainment that Leadville and Lake County deserves. Sponsors of the 2018 -2019 Choral Program are the Legacy Foundation, Lions Club and Carol Glenn. Students continue to implement community engagement because we as a program value the support our community has given the program.
Be sure to save the date for the next production Into The Woods coming April 26-28, 2019.