Classical 91.7

Tune In For “The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice 2015”

Drive the cold winter away with a holiday program filled with traditional songs and dances from around the globe.

Revels Houston
Revels Houston

Tired of the umpteenth rendition of "Joy to the World?" Looking for something different to spice up your holiday soundtrack? How about a Yuletide radio special that sings and shouts, leaps and dances with all of the joy and exuberance of every mid-winter festival since the beginning of human history! Tune in for The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice 2015, distributed nationally by Public Radio International and produced locally at Houston Public Media. It airs Saturday, December 19, at 10pm and Tuesday, December 22, at 10pm on Classical 91.7.

Produced by Bob Stevenson and hosted by Catherine Lu, The Christmas Revels: In Celebration of the Winter Solstice 2015, draws on musical and spoken-word material taken from previous years’ live Christmas Revels stage productions in Hanover, New Hampshire; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Houston, Texas; Santa Barbara and Oakland, California; Portland, Oregon; and Tacoma, Washington.

The music is almost entirely traditional, and it comes from several different cultures and ages: Medieval carols, country and Morris dance tunes, Victorian-era parlour songs, all from England; festive madrigals and tarantellas and a shepherds’ pipe lullaby from Renaissance Italy; carols, anthems, and a musical New Year’s greeting from the slopes of the German, Bavarian and Austrian Alps; Gaelic nativity songs, and step-dances and fiddle tunes of the sort that 19th-century Irish immigrants brought to America; Christmas and New Year’s kalantas – carols – from Greece, Thrace and Bulgaria; and wassails, children’s game-songs, and even a chorus from a Hanukkah-related oratorio by George Frideric Handel!

The performances also showcase guest artists, such as California-based violinist/vielle-player, Shira Kammen; Washington, D.C.'s Karpouzi Trio; and the Austin Troubadours.

The melodies and spirit of the program beautifully and joyfully express the themes that have always been associated with Winter Solstice festivals: peace, love, celebration, brotherhood, and the idea that, even when things look their worst, the light will always return to triumph over the darkness. Our troubled times have intensified the urgency of those simple but profound messages.

Revels is the creation of the late concert baritone and music educator, John Langstaff, and his daughter, Carol, a dancer, choreographer and folklorist. Since 1971 in Cambridge, and more recently in the other cities, there have been annual presentations of these unique theatrical assemblages of music, dance, ritual, drama, poetry, pageantry, costume and audience participation in celebration of the season, the earth, family, love, life and community.

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Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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