by Eden Holt, Contributing writer
Revels RiverSing is an experience difficult to put in words or even truly capture in pictures or on film. There is a power, a force, that is created when people come together and sing. I sat with the group's Artistic Director, Patrick "Paddy" Swanson, to hear more about Revels and this wonderful experience.
Who are the Revels?
Revels are a group of artists and performers. We have been performing for
more than 40 years. Revels was founded by John Langstaff with the mission to celebrate community using theater, music, tradition, and ritual. We have a great variety of events that include Spring Sing, pop-up concerts, the Christmas Revels, the Revels RiverSing we just experienced tonight, and many more.
So, is this a troupe? An ensemble? A company?
Yes, no, and all of the above. We are group of performers that are dedicated to bringing the best of traditional material, through engaging an audience in musical and theater, with the goal of bringing tradition to life. We work with well-established and prolific artists like Maeve Gilchrist and Aoife O'Donovan while continuing to grow our community chorus that is open to anyone who loves to sing.
We are here to celebrate the Autumnal Equinox - what is it? Why celebrate it?
The Autumnal Equinox marks the first day of Autumn and ushers us all into colder weather and shorter days. There are many cultures that have fascinating traditions around this shift. In our show, we explored some of [those traditions] incorporating songs, dance, and theater.
What is the significance of the river?
The river is always flowing. It was here before us and it will be here after us. As we sit here on the banks of the Charles River, it is easy to forget how much of Boston’s prosperity is thanks to this river. It is this continuity, this renewal, this potential that we channel when gathering in a sing. We call upon traditions that were here before us and together make new ones that will be here after us.
What does the future hold for Revels?
We enjoy bringing communities together to celebrate tradition and we will continue to do so. In addition to Northern Lights and the Christmas Revels shows that are coming up soon, we are introducing Revels Fringe, a new and exciting endeavor that will allow us to explore more of what makes people happy. With Revels Fringe, we will be introducing collaborations with wonderful Celtic, Appalachian, and African American artists.