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

  • 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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  • What's New with Revels?
    What’s New with Revels?
    March 1, 2018 by
    A post by Greg Lewis, Executive Director
    2018 is an exciting year for Revelers in Washington—after all, 35 is a landmark birthday for any organization! Everyone who has been part of this special community has much to look back on, and to be proud of, as we celebrate Washington Revels’ 35th Anniversary. And celebrate we will, with a fabulous gala in April and other events to come. We’re also strolling down memory lane on social media, sharing your treasured stories and photos from years past through the “Washington Revels at 35” Retrospective. And, of course, we’re looking forward to our Spring and Winter Revels with great anticipation, and already enjoying year-round Sings, Dances, Ensemble performances, and Education and Crafting workshops....
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  • Growing the Circle
    Growing the Circle
    February 1, 2018 by
    A post by Jo Rasi, Marketing & Programs Director
    Anyone who has reveled with us knows that we are all about circles here at Washington Revels. The members of Jubilee Voices, one of our year-round performing ensembles, hold hands in a circle to share a moment of peace and togetherness before a performance. We sing a goodnight song in three concentric circles at the end of many Community Sings. The very idea of circling is foundational to Revels—since the first Christmas Revels in 1983, every rehearsal and performance has begun with a circle. In more recent years, the cast has even been organized into many different overlapping circles: Stage Families, Children’s Chorus, Teen Chorus, Adult Chorus and the full ensemble. At the end of every show, our backstage and...
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  • Maypole top with ribbons
    Introducing Our Directors’ Blog Series
    December 31, 2017 by
    Posted by Washington Revels
    In 2018, Washington Revels celebrates 35 years of reveling in the DC-area. This gala year will be marked by many special events, and we’re kicking things off right away with a brand-new series of blog posts for the New Year! Each month, you can look forward to hearing from one of Revels’ artistic or office staff directors, plus occasional guest posts from Revels cities around the country. These ruminations may take the form of a heartwarming letter, a thoughtful essay, or a brief note as our directors reflect on past productions, upcoming performances, inspiring rehearsals, and the magical, exuberant, and poignant intersection of Revels and modern life....
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  • Cautionary Tales From Canada
    Cautionary Tales From Canada
    December 8, 2017 by
    A guest post by Patrick Swanson (Artistic Director, Revels, Inc.) and Stephen D. Winick, Ph.D.
    Folktales have a predictable, familiar structure: beginnings and endings are ritualized in order to give a clear signal that we are entering and leaving another world, while middles often contain important lessons that are part of a perceived “common sense.” The lessons in French-Canadian culture come from a fascinating mixture of English, Scottish, Irish, and French tradition shaped by the dominant religion, Catholicism. Many folktales feature the village priest and his enemy, the Devil. A favorite cautionary tale about the Loup-Garou, or Werewolf, includes important information about the reason for the beast’s condition: neglecting to go to confession for seven years....
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  • Song and Music in Québec: A Brief Introduction
    Song and Music in Québec: A Brief Introduction
    December 7, 2017 by
    A guest post by Stephen Winick, Ph.D.
    This French-Canadian Revels includes a selection of ancienne musique and nouvelle musique Québécoise, blending old French tradition and New World ingenuity with a modern flair. On his first trip to the New World, in 1534, explorer Jacques Cartier found a rich land inhabited by Huron and Iroquois Indians. He promptly claimed it for France. After permanent settlement began in 1608, immigrants to Québec came from all over France, but especially from several provinces in the north and west: Normandy, Picardy, Anjou, Poitou, and Brittany. Not surprisingly, many of the traditional French songs we now find in Québec are common in those provinces as well. “Dans les prisons de Nantes,” for example, is set in Nantes, an important city that was historically the capital of Brittany. Located at the confluence of the Loire, the Sevre, and the Erdre, Nantes may be remembered fondly by many of our villagers as a model for their own Trois-Rivières....
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  • Vive “le Swing” and Traditional Social Dancing
    Vive “le Swing” and Traditional Social Dancing
    December 6, 2017 by
    A guest post by Pierre Chartrand
    Swinging (as in “swing your partner round and round”) is the essence of Québécois country dancing. In fact, it can almost be considered the inspiration for all our figure dances. Our quadrilles, cotillions, and “sets” (the distinctively Québécois form of square dancing) represent the artistic epitome of how people can meet each other. This is particularly true of the quadrille, the first dance done in this show, which has a gradually increasing number of exchanges, first between partners, and then with all the other couples....
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Washington Revels, Inc.
531 Dale Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Map, Directions and Parking
301-587-3835 (voice)
888-587-9050 (fax)

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