“Light One Candle,” written by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary, was first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1982. The song was written in opposition to Israel’s invasion of Lebanon earlier that year. Given that this song was to be of universal appeal, Yarrow consulted with the former head of the Israeli government press office to ensure any controversial lyrics were removed. Since then, the song has become largely associated with Hanukkah, associating the menorah with the concept of freedom.
Member reflection: When I was a child, my family listened to a lot of Peter, Paul, and Mary songs. Even though “Light One Candle” hadn’t been written then, when I first sang this song with Choir of the Sound, it felt familiar. My parents and sister are long gone now, but when I sing this song I feel like they are with me. Although the lyrics are referring to biblical events long ago, they feel current and personal. “Don’t let the light go out, let it shine through our love and our tears” applies equally well to family memories as to historical events. Plus, the arrangement is wonderful. —Charlotte