Tag Archives: Appalachia

Dartmouth ‘Hop’ Christmas Revels 2013: It Was A Subdued Hoedown Of Sorts, Short On The Expected Yule Revelry.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth — Aug. 7, 2013.
2. Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth Dec. 17, 2012.
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Of course, more or less by definition it was good. The HOP (definitely) and Revels North not known for putting on duds — though this show, in my opinion, flirted, dangerously, at times, with that appellation for this supposed Appalachian romp.

It was a good production though this was the most minimalistic Revels set I have ever seen (I think). As far as I can see the only props they had were a few sorry benches. The pseudo psychedelic projected backdrop was neither here nor there and I am at a loss as to what it had to do with Appalachia, the Revels, Yule or even the time of day.

The ameteur cast, with all those wonderful kids, was as ever amazing. Their commitment, dedication and talent is awe inspiring. Over the last two years I have come to appreciate what they achieve each Christmas even more since I have been taking Devanee (our 13 year old) for ‘Clearlakes Chorale‘ practices/rehearsals on a weekly basis. Clearlakes and Revels North both do their Christmas show roughly at the same time (this year on the same weekend) and moreover start their practices/rehearsals at the same time, i.e., early September. What is takes to pull off Revels is a few orders of magnitude more complex than what it takes to do a Chorale performance — and I get to see the effort that goes into pulling Clearlakes off (partly because I invariably end up lending a hand). So, I have nothing but unstinted admiration and praise for the Revels North ameteur cast. Bravo.

The Sword Dance was one of the best in recent years — though given that we were in the front row, center, as usual, I did spot some fumbling.

The Morris Dance was good. The prolonged ‘Lord Of The Dance‘, in which I partook, as I always do, was uplifting as it is meant to be.

The Brass, ‘Heritage Bass‘, was outstanding — and that I noticed them more and actually paid attention to them, at the expense of paying much notice to what little was happening on the stage, kind of tells its own story.

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What I am now going to say does border on the sacrilegious and I worry that the gods of Revels will strike me down — though I also get a sneaking feeling that they may be with me on this.

Deanna’s take at intermission is a good place to start. After I came back from going and congratulating the ‘Heritage Bass’ (and getting a wonderful, hands-on tutorial on the Tuba), I asked her, knowing to an extent what I will hear (given that I do know my wife of 11 years quite well) what she thought. She started by saying: ‘I am worried to even say anything because YOU will get mad …’! And that is the crux of the problem. Deanna and the kids know that I am a sucker for Revels and that as such ‘Revels can do no wrong in my book’. Well, that is usually the case and I still continue to be a sucker for Revels. Now, more than ever, given that I feel that I have yet to enjoy a PROPER Revels in 2013, I most likely will have to get tickets and go to the Mother-ship performance by Revels Cambridge.

Deanna and the kids did not like it at all. I knew, 20 minutes in, that that would be the case. They, all seasoned Revelers, like a traditional, very European Revels.

Let me throw a few words and phrases as to what WE felt about Revels North Christmas Revels 2013 before I also explore some thoughts as to what happened.

Insipid.

Uninspired.

Lacked the Revels spark.

Unthematic and choppy with the Yule elements appearing to be add ons.

Pete Sutherland is probably an AMAZING musician but he is not a Revels player.

Suzannah Park is IMPRESSIVE (and striking) but I am not sure whether she carried this show.

******

I fully understand that producers have to experiment, try new things and stretch the envelope.

I also gather that this was supposed to be a tribute etc. That is all very good. But, don’t deprive ME of Revels.

So, I appreciate, that this is very personal. Yes, of course, people loved it. I heard them say it. But, we also got the impression that there were a lot of people with ‘free’ or discounted tickets at our performance.

We had a late lunch at the Dartmouth (over-priced) cafeteria  in the HOP prior to the 5pm performance. There was a visually impaired gentleman who was holding court, in a very loud voice, also having something to eat at the same time — surrounded by a bunch of groveling admirers. You couldn’t but hear him talk … Appears that he was a ‘big shot’ from Revels in New York. He had some interesting things to say about the different shows. He talked about the ‘Irish Revels on a ship‘ from last year, for example. (And that was one heck of a show at Dartmouth.) He had an interesting theory that this Appalachian show proved. He was saying that people just prefer European themed Revels — the more ‘Germanic’ the better. He probably has that right.

I have harped on enough.

Bottom line, this was too ‘cultural’ NOT enough Revels.

I paid ($110 I think) expecting to be Reveled not to get an academic, discourse on Appalachian musical heritage.

Will I go to Revels North next year? Most likely.

I could be wrong but I kind of feel bad for the ameteur cast. I get a feeling that they knew that this was not Revels — and it is NOT their fault. They have to do what the management decides.

But maybe I am going to switch allegiance. Rather than Revels North being the Primary Revels and Cambridge the ‘stand-by’, we might, especially now that the kids are older and can weather the trip to Boston better, do Cambridge as the primary and Dartmouth if we feel we need a second dose for the year.

Happy Yule.

Dartmouth ‘Hop’ Christmas Revels 2013 By Revels North, ‘The Appalachian Celebration’, UNAFFECTED By Weekend Storm, Snow etc.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth — Aug. 7, 2013.
2. Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth Dec. 17, 2012.
++++ Search for ‘Revels‘ & ‘Hopkins’ for other related posts
using sidebar search near top  >>>>


Review of the show
— that we attended (in the snow).


This was never in doubt in my mind.

I knew the show would go on and we were going to get there even if I had to leave 8 hours early.

Just had this e-mail from the ‘HOP’ confirming it.

The shows will happen; screw the snow. This is New Hampshire. We know how to deal with snow.

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Bought Our Tickets For Christmas Revels 2013 At Dartmouth (By Revels North) At 8 am This Morning.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.NewHopLogo

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth — Aug. 7, 2013.
2. Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth Dec. 17, 2012.
++++ Search for ‘Revels‘ & ‘Hopkins’ for other related posts
using sidebar search near top  >>>>


RevelsNorth2013tickets

Our seats.


As I said in my last post not only had I set two electronic e-mail alerts for yesterday to remind me — we set two wake up alarms, one mechanical the other electronic (because I am a great believer in belt-and-braces), to rouse me from my deep slumber at 7:30 am. That I was willing to get up at 7:30 am to buy tickets really is the utmost endorsement I can give to Revels North.

I am not a morning person — especially because I don’t go to bed until early morning! Last night I didn’t make it to bed till 1:30 am and then I read for 20 minutes. No I am not an insomniac. I actually sleep very well, without issue — always have and I can sleep anywhere when I have to. Unless we are travelling or have an appointment, it has to be a VERY SPECIAL occasion for me to agree to getting up before 8 am. And today was one of those days.

Yes, I got up at 7:30 last year also, on the very first day the tickets went online, to get our front row seats.

The kids have high expectations of me when it comes to tickets. They think I am good at it — probably the only thing that they think I am good at. So I try not to disappoint. They have very specific requirements. Front row aisle. So I got them front row aisle for the 3rd year in a trot. It was a bit nerve wracking this morning.

Though I woke up at 7:30 and Deanna, kindly, supplied me with my first cup of coffee shortly thereafter, there was no way I intended to get out of bed!  There are limits. So I had taken the precaution of putting Teischan’s Windows 8 laptop under the bed. I am not very good with laptops. I don’t like the keyboards and the screen, even at 15+”, is way too small for me. I am into BIG picture since this PC has 47″ horizontal screen space. So I messed up a few times. I was getting worried that I might lose the seats. But, I prevailed. We, actually Teischan, has an account, so the purchase part was easy. [We use to go to Big Apple circus at Hanover — until they stopped coming. I set up the Hop box office account to buy those tickets in 2006 — the year that Teischan was born; having seen the flyer for the circus at ‘The Hospital’ during her birth. Hence, why the account is in her name — which she is very proud of, because the tickets bear her name and all the Hop literature we get is addressed to her.]

So we are excited. I am happy though this has been an EXPENSIVE week in terms of tickets. Monday tickets for the circus. Today Revels and then 30 minutes later Deanna bought tickets for ‘Story Land’ — another near ‘annual’ ritual. 

Christmas Revels 2013 At Dartmouth (By Revels North), An Early Appalachian Christmas: Bound To Be A Gem.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.NewHopLogo

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
1. Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth Dec. 17, 2012.
++++ Search for ‘Revels‘ & ‘Hopkins’ for other related posts
using sidebar search near top  >>>>


North Country Revels Winter 2006: Appalachia

Revels2013descc


Read the entire Hopkins Center Press Release with all the details (below).

Click image to access the complete (beautifully written) Hopkins center press release as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Click image to access the complete (beautifully written) Hopkins center press release as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.


Click to access the Hopkins Center ...

Click to access the Hopkins Center …


There really isn’t enough brilliant things I can say about Christmas Revels at Dartmouth — courtesy of the ultra-talented and awfully dedicated Revels North.

Last year’s show was stupendous. The 2011 Olde English extravaganza was mesmerizing. We as a family just love Christmas Revels at Dartmouth. The kids look forward to it and talk about it year round. They know they are in for a treat. Such a rich, multimodal experience for all, but even more so for kids.

So, it made my day when I got the flyer this afternoon. I can’t wait. I already set an alarm for August 14. Usually I am still asleep at 8 am. But, I will get up early so that I can get my tickets the minute they go on sale. That I am willing to get up by 8 am to buy tickets tells it all to those that know me. Since I don’t go to sleep till around 2 am, I like my sleep and something has to be very, very special and important to mess up my sleep schedule.

This looks like another gem, bound to toast the cockles of your heart and get you all set for Christmas.

The Winter Solstice, heralding the coming of Summer, is my favorite day of the year. The Summer Solstice, signaling that days will start getting shorter, each day, until that special Day in December, is my least favorite day of the year. I know my physics and astronomy. So I truly am a Christmas reveler in every sense of the word — and Dartmouth Revels really hits the spot.


Peter Sutherland on YouTube. Click ...

Peter Sutherland on YouTube. Click …


Sheesham & Lotus on YouTube. Click ...

Sheesham & Lotus on YouTube. Click …


Suzannah Park on YouTube. Click ...

Suzannah Park on YouTube. Click …