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.
Down through the “centuries of the snow white world”, masks have been used for revels and rituals of all sorts. Masking is always a transformative act, whether it be children cavorting at Halloween or for an ancient ceremony among indigenous cultures. Masking does more than just cover the face and provide an altered appearance. When the archetype of the mask is clear to both performer and audience, the metaphors and meaning are accessible, then an act of sacred theater occurs. It is an exchange of ideas between the masked person and the viewer. Masks are a form of story telling within themselves. By evoking imagery either of localized cultures, or from the greater depths of the human psyche, the masks provides everyone a doorway into the story, removing the human form and substituting a metaphor in their place.
A guest post by Shane Odom, Mythical Designs. “Faerie contains many things besides elves and fays, and besides dwarfs, witches, trolls, giants, or dragons; it holds the seas, the sun, the moon, the sky; and the earth, and all things that are in it: tree and bird, water and stone, Read more »
One of the most beautiful moments in this year’s Christmas Revels is a song to the moon, “The Traveller’s Prayer.” It’s by John Renbourn, an English songwriter who died last March at the age of 70. The moon is a wonder. It travels around us slowly, making one circuit Read more »
version of this post appeared on The Last Word on Nothing. The English robin and the North American robin share a name, but ours is a large, sturdy bird, while the British one is a sweet, fat little bird with a little less red and a pretty dab Read more »
A version of this post appeared on The Last Word on Nothing. I walked along the edge of a cliff. To my right, a hundred-foot drop to the waters of the English Channel. A strong wind blew off the water and over the cliff. To my left were Read more »
In one of Washington Revels’ most-performed songs, “Country Life,” we sing: “I like to rise when the sun she rises, early in the morning/I like to hear them small birds singing, merrily upon their laylums.” A laylum is probably a bit of fallow land—it doesn’t matter; it’s a place Read more »
“We have traveled many miles, over hedges and stiles.” That’s a line from “Please to See the King,” a song in this year’s Christmas Revels. I’ve been singing in the Christmas Revels chorus since 2004. Being involved with Revels has changed a lot about my world. It has brought me Read more »
A guest post by Emilie Moore, Washington Revels Teaching Artist. I love experiencing traditions that I learned about as a child in Washington Revels through my Revels Kids eyes; I love witnessing that fascination and that thirst first hand. We sing songs and play games that were brought into my life because of Revels, and sharing these gifts with them brings me immense joy.
Read more »
A Guest Post by Patrick Malone. Attending The Christmas Revels each year with my family was probably my very favorite tradition. I remember vividly riding from our home in McLean, over Key Bridge, past the sparkling December lights of M Street, and stepping into the warm glow of Lisner Auditorium. Attending the Revels was more a part of our holiday ritual than anything else, and the final notes of the Sussex Mummers Carol would reverberate within me for the rest of the season. The rest of the year, even.
Read more »
It’s July. It’s 85 degrees outside in a hazy, sluggish world full of Nature’s brightest greens, yellows and oranges. Of course no one is thinking about Christmas and December, right? Wrong.