Washington Revels Blog

Washington Revels stages celebrations filled with traditional music, dance, stories and drama from around the world, revolving around the cycle of the seasons and the joys of community connections. Revels is for anyone who wants to share common ground through old and new traditions—connecting people across time and cultures. Revels is not something that you just watch—it is an experience.

While much of Revels takes place on a stage through song and dance, here on our blog members of our community attempt to capture the magic of Revels in words. We hope you take joy in reading these posts and that you will join us to make your own Revels memories soon!

Latest Posts

  • We’ll Take That to Go: Parades, Processions and Connecting with the Broader Community
    We’ll Take That to Go: Parades, Processions and Connecting with the Broader Community
    August 8, 2018 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    So a dragon, a hobby horse, and a jester walk into Takoma Park… It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it becomes reality each 4th of July when Washington Revels steps out and sings out at the Takoma Park Independence Day Parade. Whether the temperatures are in the 70s (this year) or inching towards the 100-degree mark (2012), several dozen revelers of all ages can be relied upon to sing, play, and march their way through a community institution, and share a few centuries-old traditions in the process....
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  • Autumn is for Families
    Autumn is for Families
    August 3, 2018 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    A group of four- and five-year olds are marching down the hallway, waving ribbon sticks and singing an old traditional tune about apples. A dragon is resting on a nearby table while a volunteer sews one of its ears. Six teens are heading upstairs to rehearse with bells tied around their ankles, adding whimsy and celebration to the already joyful scene. And in a nearby park, a group of volunteers is leafing through a songbook choosing songs to share at the evening’s...
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  • Making the Sausage: just what goes into a Christmas Revels?
    Making the Sausage: just what goes into a Christmas Revels?
    August 1, 2018 by
    A post by Colin K. Bills, Production Manager
    The title of this post could easily refer to a prop we’ve got in mind for this year’s production. Indeed, our selection of fake meats — from the Boar’s Head that will once again make an appearance in 2018 to the côtelette de veau bien rôtie sans os produced last year as one of our foods in les Parties de Grégoire — is mouthwateringly delectable. That is, unless one is a vegetarian or allergic to painted Styrofoam. However, the sausage here is of the metaphoric sort. Those who have been on or backstage in a Christmas Revels can surely appreciate the time, effort, sweat (and alas, sometimes tears) that are required of the hundreds of folks who contribute to this epic performance. And while effort is surely required, time is our most valuable commodity. Members of the chorus know that auditions for Christmas occur in late May. That’s nearly seven months before the show! That should be enough time to put this thing together, right?...
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  • Freedom and the Fourth of July
    Freedom and the Fourth of July
    June 28, 2018 by
    A post by Andrea Jones Blackford, Director, Jubilee Voices & Co-Director, Heritage Voices
    On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass delivered an address at an event in Rochester, New York commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Douglass’ words reveal the reality that the Founding Fathers’ vision of freedom in the Declaration of Independence did not include enslaved people, who were considered then property or livestock. His speech included the sights, sounds and stories of the enslaved, and of his own experience under slavery, underscoring the hypocrisy of celebrating freedom while benefiting from “cargoes of human flesh.” His words were a warning to the young republic — then 76 years old — to reconsider this paradox....
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  • A July 4th Welcome for Syrian Refugees
    A July 4th Welcome for Syrian Refugees
    June 21, 2018 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    The Fourth of July is a special holiday for Washington Revels. It’s a chance for Revelers from across our community to spread the joy of shared music, dance, and play with our largest single audience: parade spectators! Even more wonderful for us, these onlookers are our Takoma Park neighbors, who turn out each year to cheer on the many great community groups that participate in the historic Takoma Park Independence Day Parade (129 years and counting)....
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  • Washington Revels Kids
    The Next 35
    June 1, 2018 by
    A post by Patti Knapp, Business & Development Director
    Hello Friends: I write today grateful for the progress our Washington Revels community has made and humbled by the road that lies ahead of us. Since I arrived in August of 2016, the warmth of your welcome and your willingness to lend your talents to new fundraising endeavors has overwhelmed me. With your help we have strengthened Revels’ financial foundation and nurtured the vibrant circle of volunteers, donors, performers, teachers, and learners that make my work worth pursuing....
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  • Gallery Voices at FONA (photo by Diane Kresh)
    May Day! May Day! — How Will You Celebrate?
    April 30, 2018 by
    A post by Elizabeth Fulford, Music Director
    How will you celebrate May Day?  Washington Revels Gallery Voices got an early start this past weekend at the National Arboretum with madrigals, maypole dancing and lots and lots of beautiful plants and flowers.  We sang about sport and play, branches of May, country life, and many other Spring and Summer themes.  Dressed in May "whites" with colorful sashes and flowery wreathes, it began to feel like warm and sunny weather is finally here to stay!...
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  • New Revels (Staff) Roles
    New Revels (Staff) Roles
    April 27, 2018 by
    A post by Greg Lewis, Executive Director
    Let Revels introduce you to the newest member of our staff: Volunteer & Education Manager Grace VanderVeer, who first joined our community as a Teen Chorus member in 2005. Learn more about Grace and read about all the latest developments within the office team: the Ritchie Building is buzzing with activity as Grace, Jo Rasi and Ross Wixon settle into new roles....
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  • The Adventures of Reveler Mike Matheson!
    The Adventures of Reveler Mike Matheson!
    April 5, 2018 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    Mike Matheson is no stranger to the Revels stage. You've seen him perform in many Christmas Revels productions, sung along with him (and his trusty concertina) during Pub Sing, and heard him direct and perform with Maritime Voices. Mike has been closely involved with Washington Revels since 1987 and has directed Maritime Voices since it formed in 2008. And wow, does he have some great stories to share with our "Washington Revels at 35" Retrospective — so many, in fact, that we thought we'd devote a whole blog post — in Mike's own words — to these memorable vignettes from years past....
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  • Spring
    Spring
    March 30, 2018 by
    A post by Roberta Gasbarre, Artistic Director
    Hello from (hopefully) the last snowstorm of the season. I am writing this on the Spring Equinox and know that by the time you read it, the snow will have melted and the cherry blossoms will have shown their blushing faces to the sky. A wonderful chorus of kids, tweens, teens and adults will be starting to rehearse the old songs that will bring in the May at the National Cathedral — soon we will sing Rattlin’ Bog and dance around the May Pole once more!...
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Washington Revels, Inc.
531 Dale Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20910
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301-587-3835 (voice)
888-587-9050 (fax)

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