Travel to the Emerald Isle in the mid-1800’s to celebrate the Irish spirit. Gather at the hearth of the village pub for fiery tunes and mesmerizing rhythms from our Irish Band, the flashing feet of step and céilí dancing, and rollicking songs and toasts — all beckoning the joys of Christmas! Then board a ship bound for the new world, where songs of longing give way to powerful anthems of hope, and children lift our spirits with sean nós
dances. Journey with us through the struggle, triumph and fierce joy that epitomize the Irish-American heritage.
Join our cast of over 100, ages 8–85, for rousing traditional tunes, seasonal carols, ancient hymns, lush folk songs, familiar Revels singalongs, and an Armagh Straw Boys mummers play featuring St. Patrick, the “Wyld Worm” dragon, and the “Papa Stour” sword dance. Sláinte, and Welcome Yule!
Read the 2014 Christmas Revels Program →
See excerpts from the 2014 Christmas Revels here!
Articles and Reviews
Washington Post article – “Bus drivers and bureaucrats rejoice in their roles as singers, dancers in holiday shows”
Read article →
DC Metro Theater Arts review – “The Christmas Revels: ‘An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice’”
Read review →
Washington Post video – “This Show, Starring You and Me”
Click on any photo below to view a slide show of all photos. Photos courtesy of Nick Eckert (noted on photos) and Barry Galef.
The Irish Band
Kelly Criscuolo-DeButts (uilleann pipes and fiddle)
holds a BFA from George Mason University, and works as a luthier, restoring and repairing stringed musical instruments. She started playing the uilleann pipes at age 16, as well as Irish flute and fiddle around the same time. Largely self-taught, she has also attended piping workshops in the US and Ireland. She is the flute player in the Bog Wanderers
ceili band, and the piper in the flat-pitch band, Old Pitch
Joe DeZarn (fiddle) is from an extended family of fiddle players. He can be heard performing for contra dances, ceilis, and other traditional dance venues, as well as in Irish music festivals and sessions throughout the mid-Atlantic. Joe is a sought-after teacher of traditional fiddling styles, and is a popular instructor on staff for events including the Upper Potomac Fiddle Retreat and the annual Greenwood Folk Gathering. Joe summarizes his perspective on the musician’s role in traditional music and dance communities, stating, “It is a privilege to be involved with people for whom love of the art form is so clearly at the center of motivation. That love comes into full bloom when the music and dance are inclusive and participatory. How fun…how worthwhile”.
Tina Eck (Irish wooden flute and tinwhistle)
, originally from Germany and now working as a Washington based radio news correspondent, discovered her passion for Irish traditional music in a local pub in Washington DC in the early 1990’s. She has since performed at countless sessions, festivals, dances and concerts, including such notable venues as the Irish embassy and the Kennedy Center. She is traveling to Ireland frequently to has studied flute technique and repertoire with some of the best traditional flute players in Ireland and the US. Tina
is on the faculty of the Washington Conservatory of Music program at Glen Echo Park, and she also gives private flute and whistle lessons. In 2011 Tina
was awarded a Maryland State Arts Council Grant for Solo World Music Performance. Tina
also holds a 2013 TTCT teaching diploma by Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Dublin), identifying her as one of the premier teachers of Irish traditional music. Tina
also performs with the duo “Lilt”, the dance band “Rambling House” and the performance band “Irish Inn Mates”. This is her first time with the Christmas Revels.
Sue Richards (Celtic harp)
was never happy playing pedal harp as a teen, and finally rebelled and gave it up. Soon after, she discovered the Irish music of her heritage, took up the small harp, and has never looked back. She performs and teaches widely, both solo and with Ensemble Galilei, a group of five musicians and two actors. Sue
has played for two presidents and for Queen Elizabeth ll. She has solo CD’s with Maggie Music label, and with EG on the Sono Luminus label. She also self-produced two CD’s with Trio Galilei for their work with wounded warriors at Walter Reed Military Center. Sue
also has many books of original tunes and arrangements for harp.
James Terence “Jesse” Winch (bodhran)
is the son of Bridie Flynn (RIP) of Loughrea, Co. Galway, and Patrick Winch, (RIP). As a ten-year-old, Jesse took up the drums and two years later started playing with his father and button-accordion player P.J. Conway for house parties and parish dances. Jesse went on to play drums with the Joe Nellany Band, Paddy Noonan, Paulie Ryan, and several other Irish dance bands in New York in the early 1960s. In the late 1960s Jesse was introduced to the bodhran. In succeeding years, Jesse started playing the bodhran with encouragement and inspiration from such players as Peadar Mercier, Robin Morton, Seamus Begley and DeDanann’s Johnny McDonagh. Jesse is a founding member, with his brother Terry, of the award-winning band Celtic Thunder, and also plays regularly in the DC area with Narrowbacks, the Bog Wanderers Ceili Band, and the Irish Inn Mates. Jesse has recorded with Celtic Thunder, Jerry O’Sullivan, The Clancy Brothers and Robbie O’Connell, Johnny Cunningham, Linda Hickman, and many others. From 2004-2011, Jesse served as chair of the O’Neill Malcom Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and was later inducted in to their Hall of Fame.
Sam Game (Evin Connelly)
is a performing artist based in Washington, DC. A recent graduate of The George Washington University with a BS in Economics, he was a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in Acting and a Dean’s Scholar in Shakespeare. He appeared in seven MainStage productions with GW’s Department of Theatre and Dance, and has also performed at The Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage Festival, Arena Stage’s Eugene O’Neill Festival, and most recently in Capital Fringe Festival’s production of Everything I Do
Séamus Miller (Darragh Ryan)
is a DC-based actor, director, and teaching artist. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in English & Theatre Arts, with additional training from NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts in Dublin. Local credits include: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard II)
, Longacre Lea (Pol Pot & Associates, LLP
), 1st Stage (The Pitmen Painters
), Annapolis Shakespeare Company (Hamlet
), Single Carrot Theatre (The Apocalypse Comes @ 6PM
), HalfMad Theatre (Twelfth Night
), American Century Theater (Voodoo Macbeth
), The Shakespeare Factory (Hamlet, The Tempest
), and Baltimore Shakespeare Festival (Twelfth Night
Tom Kearney (The Purser)
is excited to be returning to the stage and sharing it for the first time with his talented children Patrick, Jack and Dara. Tom is a veteran Washington D.C. actor who has been in numerous productions at The Studio Theater, The Source Theatre and The Folger Shakespeare Company to name a few. Tom is a graduate of James Madison University and studied with Joy Zinoman at the Studio Theater Acting Conservatory. Tom met his wife Samantha at The Studio Theater when he played Hamlet to her Ophelia. He is still driving her crazy after 20 years of marriage! Tom’s greatest joy in life is listening to his children sing while Samantha plays the piano.
is a percussive dancer, musician, actress, performing artist, choreographer, activist, medievalist, amateur anthropologist, comedian, parent, teacher, and ponderer. She is best known for her percussive dancing (specifically sean-nós dancing), which the Washington Post described as “Playful musicality…spirited and fun!”
Shannon is also a renowned teacher of sean-nós/percussive dance. She has studied Connemara sean-nós dance (through funding by the DCCAH) with Paidraic O’Hoibicin, Roisin NiMhanin, Mick Mulkerrin & Mairead Casey, Clare battering with Aidan Vaughan,and Muenster (old-style) step dance with Patrick O’Dea. She also studied flatfooting/clogging with Eileen Carson, Megan Downes and Christine Galante. Learn more about Shannon Dunne →
Shannon Dunne Dance
is an intergenerational dance company, committed to performances and classes that represent the values of sean-nós dancing: musicality, community, tradition, spontanaeity, joy, improvisation and entertainment! Literally meaning “old style” in Irish, the style is an exciting, improvised battering style dance, characterized by a loose, playful upper body, close to the floor steps and a strong musicality. Up until recently, sean-nós dance has been kept alive in the remote areas of Connemara Gaeltacht, passed along through family/community lines. Photo credit: Enoch Chan (2013). Learn more about Shannon Dunne Dance →
is the Washington, DC based Sword Dance performance group, performing both new and re-interpreted traditional dances, primarily in the styles of English Rapper and Longsword. Formed in 2005, team members include David Roodman, Dave Casserly, Jerry Stein, Lynn Baumeister, Ted Hodapp, Tom Spilsbury (alumni include, David Shewmaker (founder) and Scott Wittenberg). Learn more about Cutting Edge →