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Ten Years of Maritime Music

Ten Years of Maritime Music

A post by Mike Matheson, Director, Maritime Voices
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Washington Revels Maritime Voices. During that time the group has performed a repertoire of more than 80 songs on more than 70 occasions in more than 30 venues in the Washington and Baltimore areas. Why has maritime music been such a success for the Revels? First of all, this region has a strong maritime tradition, dating back to the 18th Century. The Port of Baltimore has long been a major center of maritime commerce, the Chesapeake a thriving fishing community, Washington the headquarters of the U.S. Navy, and the C&O Canal a channel of commerce to the ports of Alexandria and Georgetown. Major naval battles have been fought up and down the Chesapeake. All of this has produced a rich and varied tradition of maritime and canal music, which we have been very happy to draw upon, and one which has a natural appeal to audiences in this area.

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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

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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Making the Sausage: just what goes into a Christmas Revels?

Making the Sausage: just what goes into a Christmas Revels?

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

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

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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The Next 35

The Next 35

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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May Day! May Day! — How Will You Celebrate?

May Day! May Day! — How Will You Celebrate?

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

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!

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

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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