Tag Archives: programs

Revels North (Dartmouth) — Christmas 2015, A ‘Scottish Bash’ — Was Certainly A Bash.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail
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by Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> 
Christmas Revels North, 2015: Songbook & Program.
>> Christmas Revels North, 2015Scottish Highland Bash.
>> Christmas Revels 2014: RAVE.
>> Christmas Revels 2013 at Dartmouth.
>> Christmas Revels 2012 at Dartmouth.

>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels: Fantabulous.
>> Cambridge 2015
Welsh Revels: Program.
>> Cambridge 2015 Welsh Revels.

++++ Search for ‘Revels’ & ‘Cambridge’ for MANY other related posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

Dominique Dodge, the divine harpist and soloist.


♥ The Scottish dancing was top class, throughout. Bravo.

♥ The harpist, Dominique Dodge, was DIVINE.
[I, though a sucker for harp music have no plans, whatsoever, of going to heaven. Which is why I try and listen to as much good harp music on earth while I can. But I imagine that is there is a heaven and they do have harpist there, as is claimed, these harpists will sound like Dominique Dodge did last night. THANK YOU, Dominique.]

♥ ‘Tàladh Chrìosta’ performed in the second-half by Dominique Dodge, who also sang as a soloist, with the ‘Teens of Dingwall’ was goose-bump inducingly magical. WOW. Thank you.

♥ TheAuld Lang Syne‘, with the crossed-arms and synchronized swaying, was the BEST rendition I have seen in the U.S. in the last 30 years and it made me very happy (bar for a small but crucial flaw that was an unnecessary distraction). But, Thank you. That was very good.
[Those that are familiar with this blog that I start running ‘Auld Lang Syne‘ tutorials in December to get U.S. folks to do it properly with the crossed-arms. And IF you are wondering why, as I have talked about many times, I was a bona fide, invited ‘First Footer‘ at Hogmanay, in Greenock (Scotland), for a number of years and did my duty, gladly, in kissing hundreds of Scottish lasses, right after the ‘Auld’ to make sure their New Year would be blessed.]

The Ballad of Tam Linwas exquisitely done and I will confess that last night was the first time I fully appreciated all the nuances. Kudos.

♥ The huge wolf and eagle created for the final scene of The Ballad of Tam Linwas very impressive. Way to go.

♥ The two young ladies that lead the ‘Lord of the Dance, in Morris Dance outfits, go from strength to strength each year. Bravo.


Maureen Burford, Revel North’s Artistic Director taking her final bow at Dartmouth.

At the end of the show we were told that this was the last show of Maureen Burford, the Artistic Director.

She was leaving after 12 years with Revels North. That is a shame. We like her work and her style.

I now realized that bar the very first Revels, that I was at Dartmouth prior to 2001, all the other Revels that we have seen at Dartmouth, since 2003, have been Maureen Burford creations. Wow. We wish you all the best Maureen.

I got a chance to briefly speak with Maureen at the intermission BUT I had no idea that it was her last show.

And end of another era.


Of course it was good. They are all good, by definition. The Revels North ‘gang’ is so dedicated, talented and charismatic. We are always in awe and admiration of what they manage to pull off, each Christmas.

Glad we went. To me Christmas would not be complete with Christmas Revels, by Revels North, at Dartmouth.

Welcome Yule. Merry Yule.


Those that know me well might have detected by now that I am not as effusive in my praise for this performance as I normally tend to be. Yes, that is indeed true. There were three and half things that marred this show for me. I think, though I am not sure, that I would have been able to overlook (maybe not gladly) and one of these 3.5 faux pas, but the totality of all 3.5 was too much. So what were these 3.5 reasons that put a damper on this performance.

1. NO Programs!

They did NOT have any programs, at all, for this show. I was told, 4 times, that all the shows had been sold out, that they sold 1,000 tickets than ever before, and as such they ran out of programs for the last show.

I do NOT buy that. This is 2015 in Hanover, NH. This is the era of the “Internet of Everything”. All the tickets were sold electronically. They should have been on top of ticket sales on a second-by-second basis. They should have started printing more programs as they saw the tickets being sold. This was a VERY POOR SHOW.

I feel really bad for those attending Revels for the first time. Without a program they were truly robbed. Mugged.

I was not amused either. I like to read the program ahead of the show and get a road-map in my head. Then during the show I do follow each act on the program. This was not cricket. This was a VERY POOR SHOW. I was livid.

This is 2015 in Hanover, NH. The world class Spaulding Auditorium, in which the show was held, as the projection equipment for “Supertitling” — i.e., displaying the ‘program’ behind the stage in large font. We saw this to great effect in 2013 when the Dartmouth Handel Society did “St. Matthew Passion“. Yes, it would have been a lot of work but they could have at least Supertitled.

Plus this is Hanover, NH in 2015. Within a 1/4 mile radius of the Hop there had to be dozens of high-quality, commercial grade laser printers. They could have just printed the 10 pages of the Program per se and handed that out with an apology.

I found the lack of a program an AFFRONT. Revels North management saying “Let them eat cake”. That at the start of the show a cast member appeared on stage and tried to make light of this and then had the temerity to say that “we could go read it online when we got home” was INSULTING. I don’t want to read the program after the fact.

IF Revels North had any class they would send each and every person that attended last night’s performance a $15 refund along with a profound apology. And I blame the Revels North Board. IF they have any sense of shame they would, before Christmas, resign in bloc. This was very incompetent. This was unacceptable. Yes, I am annoyed. Yes, I was given a program at the end, BUT that was no consolation.

2. The Master of Ceremonies wore cheap black sneakers with HUGE rubber soles with his kilt!

That was very insulting too! There is a proper way to wear a kilt. A kilt is a NATIONAL DRESS. You do NOT take liberties with a National Dress. You do not disrespect THE KILT.

That he kept on appearing at the very edge of the stage in these frigging sneakers was beyond the bloody pale. Yes, after the show I made a point of taking a photo so that you can all appreciate my sense of outrage.

Click to ENLARGE.

OK. Maybe he had bad feet. But there is NOTHING better for bad feet than a good pair of leather brogues. There were others on stage well attired in their kilts and footwear. I am amazed that nobody told this guy that sneakers are not worn with a kilt.

I blame the MANAGEMENT for this. They should have not let this happen.

First the programs and then this. What was this. Affront the audience week?

3. One piper, who used Smallpipes most of the time.

This was, and IF you had a program you would see that, billed as a ‘Scottish Highland Celebration’. So how come we only got 2 minutes 20 seconds of Great Highland Bagpipes? The rest of the time it was bellows-powered, small pipes with the drone ‘muted’.

One piper. We had one piper, with proper Highland pipes, at our wedding and we never billed that as a Highland Celebration.

I expected that we would start proceedings with some full-blooded piping. We in New England have no shortage of good pipers. One piper with small pipes. That the Highland Pipes would have been too overpowering for an indoor event. This was Revels. Celebration. I give you, with PRIDE, the “Red Hot Chilli Pipers” with three pipers in full blast, at the ‘Capitol Center for the Arts’, in Concord, NH, in 2014. Now that was a BLAST.

To make it worse the smallpipes were not properly amplified. The first time they played, halfway through, they started sounding ‘funky’. Like somebody turned on some other instrument. In the second half, the first time they were used, the cord may have been loose, but it ‘pop’, ‘crackled’ and ‘hissed’. People noticed it. I looked around. Now if you had DRONES that would have drowned out all that interference.

4. The cute kids at the front, for the ‘Auld’, didn’t cross arms!

Well at the start I did say that the ‘Auld Lang Syne’ was done, by the adults to near perfection. But they had a dozen or so very cute kids right at the front who just held hands without them crossed. PLEASE, as a father of four, do NOT tell me that kids cannot cross their arms. The kids would have loved it. They just had to be told. You cross your arms. What gives.

After the show, as is our wont, we went across the road, to the pub, for dinner. And, of course, we talked about the show. We had taken a friend of Deanna’s. Her first Revels. NO PROGRAM. She is Scottish. She, without being asked, commented about the pipes!

Deanna noticed that there was no ‘Horn Dance’ and that is as Scottish as it can get.

Also seemed very short. When ‘Lord of the Dance’ came around we looked around at each other. Seemed it came rather fast. BUT without a program we had no idea where we were. The whole show, with the intermission, appeared to have been about 1 hour 40 minutes long. We were done well before 7pm (having started at 5pm). The Revels last week 2.5 hours long (with the 15 minute intermission).

On the way Deanna made this very telling comment: “Maybe next year we should just go to Cambridge.” Yikes! I hope not. Revels North is still OUR Revels.

Lets us see what they do to recompense for these faux pas.


Let Me Please Have Another Quick Rave About The ‘Sea Bird’ Chinese Restaurant In Wolfeboro, N.H.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


seabirdfrontRelated Posts:
1/Sea Bird‘ New Year’s 2014

>>Jan. 2, 2014.
2/
Chinese picnic from ‘Sea Bird’

>>July 31, 2013.
3/ Sea Bird, Wolfeboro, my new
>>local
 — Dec. 10, 2012.
++++ Search on ‘Wolfeboro’ for other Wolfeboro related posts >>>>


RAVE. RAVE. RAVE.

Sea Bird, Center Street, Wolfeboro, NH
THE BEST Chinese restaurant for miles and miles around.


That we are huge fans of the ‘Sea Bird’ in Wolfeboro is no great secret — as at least three posts on this blog will clearly attest, loud and clear.

They are very good about supporting local events with advertising dollars.

What is there not to like? The ‘Sea Bird’ has tasty food, generous portions, wonderfully friendly staff and very affordable prices. I don’t know. That seems like a pretty good formula. If you get to know the owners, Guy Phu and Lan Sam, it becomes even more special. Very nice, ‘salt of the Earth’, couple. Very family-oriented and down to earth. We are very fond of them. We like them and the Sea Bird so much that it has now become our default venue for celebrating our ‘January 1’ wedding anniversary. That has to mean something given that we are not ‘shy’ about driving an hour to go for dinner.

Here is another data point. This last Wednesday we had lunch in Wolfeboro with a friend. So five people. It was five people again last night. Three adults and our two brats. Yet again we had two drinks. But the check at the Sea Bird, for considerably more food (if not a view of The Lake), was $40 cheaper! That, in my book, is no small potatoes.

Yes, we went there last night after ‘Snow White‘ at the Kingswood. We had been foiled in December after the Northeastern Ballet ‘Nutcracker’. But, that was Winter and this was Summer. Teischan, my little prima donna, is very specific about what she expects of Dad after her ballet performances. She needs roses and she needs to be taken out for dinner. She likes Chinese — or at least Fried Rice. When we sat down she said she wanted a ‘Shirley Temple’ and two orders of Fried Rice. Well we didn’t get two orders of Fried Rice but we got quite a bit.

Anyhow, I had not bothered to check or call ahead last night to make sure that they would be open after the show. It was Summer. We pull up just past 9 pm. It looked closed! I went up to the door. Ooops! It said Friday & Saturday closed at 9pm. I saw Guy, seated at a table, eating his dinner. I didn’t disturb him. I walked back to the car. He must have seen that somebody had come to the door. When I got to the car he was standing at the window. I didn’t want to be rude. So I went up again. As soon as he saw me he opened the door and insisted that I come in. I told him that it was ‘O.K’. We understood. He would not have none of it. Insisted that we all come in and have dinner — no hurry, take our time. We had taken a retired Alton Central teacher with us to the show. So she was with us too. Guy had let the waitstaff go for the night. Lan, with their kids, were on vacation. So it was just Guy. But we had a great meal and great time. Suffice to say it was just us. He gave us our customary table in the corner. He did all the serving and in between we would chat. It was sublime. The kids are very comfortable there. Lan has spoiled them. So they can be loud. Didn’t matter. We had the place to ourselves.

The food, as ever, was good. We had two boxes left over. We are still eating it today.

So, we just want to make a point.

IF you are in Wolfeboro and want a good meal go to the Sea Bird.

IF you are within 35 miles of Wolfeboro, NH and fancy a GOOD, affordable Chinese go to the Sea Bird.

Phu Jee’s in Meredith, which is also very good, is Guy’s brother. Notice the name. Guy Phu.

Bottom Line. Sea Bird, in Wolfeboro, soars above others when it comes to Good Chinese in the Lakes Region. If you don’t believe me check their online reviews.


Another Positive Shout-Out For The ‘Sea Bird’ Chinese Restaurant In Wolfeboro, N.H.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related Posts:
1/ Chinese picnic from ‘Sea Bird’
>>July 31, 2013.
2/ Sea Bird, Wolfeboro, my new local
>>Dec. 10, 2012.
++++ Search on ‘Wolfeboro’ for other Wolfeboro related posts >>>>


Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

That we, I in particular, like the ‘Sea Bird’ in Wolfeboro is no secret. I have been going there since 1993 — which is more or less when they first started. Lets be fair, it is pretty easy to like them. There food is good, they are kind to your wallet, the layout inside is pleasant enough and they are VERY NICE people. Yes, over the last 2 years we have got to know the Vietnamese owners Guy & Lan. They are always there. So, now when we go we have a little chat before we even sit down — and Lan typically comes later on and we talk some more. Since I am known to travel with chocolates to give people at whim, I have started taking chocolates for Lan. That amuses her.

Going to the Sea Bird for Chinese on January 1 (or late on December 31) will become a family tradition. We went there December 31, 2012. January 1 is our wedding anniversary. We got married at 3 pm, on January 1, 2003 at the Gunstock Inn, Gilford. I insist that we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries — since to me life, or at least just being alive, is worth celebrating. A year ago we lucked out in that we managed to get John P. Kimball (who works at AutoServ of Tilton) to join us. John, who is also a J.P., and worked for 94.9 for decades (and was a fellow Rotarian in Laconia), was the one that, kindly, married us. John now lives in Wolfeboro, on Smith River. So it was fun to have John join us on our 10th anniversary. I tried to get John to join us this year. He couldn’t; he is house sitting up in Hanover. So we are going to go to the Sea Bird again, later this month, with John.

In December, as you must recall, we had the Clearlakes Chorale concert and the Northeastern Ballet ‘Nutcracker’ performances. Remember? Well, ‘Sea Bird’ to their CREDIT advertised in the programs for both shows. BRAVO, Sea Bird. I was pretty damn impressed. Yes, we too ‘advertised’ (or at least put something in), in both programs since we are committed to both organizations — and appreciate the opportunity they give our kids. I study the programs assiduously since it tells you something about the community. For example, I never see any of the Alton marinas advertise in these programs. Ditto for the asset management and investment firms in Wolfeboro. I have to assume that these folks make more money than the ‘Sea Bird’. But they don’t advertise, but ‘Sea Bird’ does. That makes me like the ‘Sea Bird’ even more.

'Sea Bird' to their credit advertised in the 'Clearlakes Chorale' and 'Northeastern Ballet' programs in 2013. Click to ENLARGE. Bravo 'Sea Bird'.

‘Sea Bird’ to their credit advertised in the ‘Clearlakes Chorale’ and ‘Northeastern Ballet’ programs in 2013. Click to ENLARGE. Bravo ‘Sea Bird’.



Lan's special 'Shirley Temple' for the girls.

Lan’s special ‘Shirley Temple’ for the girls.

We didn’t order a huge amount of food last night. We were all still getting over getting home at 4 am in the morning from Portsmouth after First Night! [Yes, for the 2nd time in a week, and very atypically for us, we again had car trouble. Dead battery this time. We actually ended, all four of us, spending some time in the back of a Portsmouth Police cruiser — a first for all of us! No, no. Don’t get excited. We were not arrested or even suspected of causing trouble. They let us sit in the back of the cruiser to stay warm until AAA arrived! Thinking back I realize that, never mind asking for ID, they never even asked us for our names. Just said get in and get warm! It is AMAZING how we LUCK out with strangers when we have car trouble. So, we started 2014 with a BANG. Quite an adventure. It wasn’t bad. But, we were all suffering yesterday. I worked out that I don’t function that well on 4.5 hours sleep though I struggled to do some writing.]

Though the kids will live on fried rice, I, alas, have to watch my carbs. Though I ordered a ton of rice knowing that we would take it home, and we did bring back 3 very full boxes of food, I was parsimonious, as is my new wont, in my carb intake. Tried a new appetizer, the ‘Wontons in hot sesame sauce’. It was divine! We got the other usual suspects: beef teriyaki, boneless ribs, crab rangoons, General Gau’s, sesame chicken, egg rolls etc. etc. All of it was good. They tend to get it just right. The girls had ‘Shirley Temples‘. Lan makes it, ‘special’, for them. After the night before I felt entitled to a ‘Suffering Bastard‘ (though I had not touched any alcohol in Portsmouth). I think the ‘Suffering Bastard’ will again become my signature drink at Chinese restaurants. I had forgotten that it is a robust drink with a kick. Went down well. Just what I needed.

So, unreserved, unstinted praise, kudo and endorsement for the ‘Sea Bird’ and the staff. Support them — they support the community cultural efforts.

Thanks Guy. Thanks Lan.

Happy New Year.


Anura Guruge 11th anniversary, 2014

11th wedding anniversary. ‘Sea Bird’, Wolfeboro, N.H., Jan. 1, 2014.


‘North America’ Series On The Discovery Channel. Not As Scintillating As ‘Africa’ But Still A Very Compelling HD Tour de Force.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> ‘Africa’ series on Discovery Channel … — Jan. 17, 2013.


Click to access home page on the 'Discovery Channel' Website.

Click to access home page on the ‘Discovery Channel’ Website.


We have watched two episodes of Discovery Channel’s ‘North America’ so far. They were, indubitably, good. Definitely 4th generation of nature programs, 2nd gen. in terms of HD exploitation — if you start with David Attenborough incomparable and seminal Life On Earthon BBC in the 1970s as the first generation of this genre. See my ‘Africa’ post for more on ‘Life On Earth‘ if you are not familiar with this groundbreaking series.

I could be mistaken, but I do not think that this series, especially when it comes to storylines, narration, close-ups and ingenuity, is as good as ‘Africa’ which really was breathtakingly amazing. Maybe I got slightly spoilt by having watched all the episodes of ‘Africa’. We are still going to watch all of this series, it is too good to pass by.

Still a definite two-thumbs up. Kids should love it. Enjoy. I have already set the DVR to record this week’s episode (tonight, I think).


Click to access video online.

Click to access video online.