Christmas Revels Quilt

This year’s Christmas Revels—at the Boulder Theater on December 16 and December 22, at 2 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.—is set in Appalachia during the mid-1800s where English, Scotch, Irish, and Welsh settlers shared the characteristics of being fiercely independent and desiring the freedom to live as they pleased. Steep mountainsides kept outsiders out and insiders close to home. They shared music, their religious beliefs, and their love of traditional rituals and customs from their backgrounds.
This year’s Appalachian show reflects a culture that is a unique blend of European, Native American, and African elements forged in isolation over time. The Celtic traditions can be seen in the clogging, or “flatfooting,” as it is sometimes called. The old-time mountain music takes on a uniquely distinct quality with complicated fingering patterns in the stringed instruments including banjo, guitar, and of course fiddle. The tall tales and stories that are woven into the culture tell of tricky characters who solve problems with both strength and wit. Animals and people work together in the myths and stories, solving problems, and building cabins and communities on the sides of the steep mountain range known as Appalachia.
Revels, Inc. was founded by John Langstaff in 1971to link the music, dances, and seasonal rituals from an older world to a modern world that needs them. Boulder is proud to be one of only ten cities to produce a Christmas Revels show, which carries the universal theme of welcoming the return of the light. Performers in Boulder’s 12th annual Christmas Revelscome from Denver, Golden, Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette, Nederland, and Boulder, and hold daytime jobs as teachers, engineers, lawyers, community organizers, lobbyists, computer programmers, chemists, homemakers, artists, grandparents, moms and dads, and college students.
Guest artists include well-known vocalist and gospel singer Jann Oldham, storyteller and librarian Judy Volc, and Firing Line, a brilliant Appalachian band from Lyons. Other featured artists include The Flagstaff Brass Quintet, the eleven-year-old fiddler and actor Sam Jarvis, professional actress Jenn Bass as Grandmother Spider, popular baritone Cole Kiersey as the native storyteller, and Rick Romeo, our original songleader. Our Lil’ Bar Chorus, consists of 16 remarkable kids from schools throughout the community, and our Mountain Top Adult Chorus includes 38 talented teens and adults.
As is tradition with all Christmas Revels performances, the audience is included in singing fabulous favorites such as “The First Noël,” “See Amid the Winter’s Snow,” and a “Round for Peace.”The audience also participates in thedancing and singing of “Lord of the Dance,” which traditionally ends the first half of every Christmas Revels show. And, of course, no Christmas Revels is complete without the dramatic reading of “The Shortest Day,” a poem written for Revels by children’s author Susan Cooper in 1977.
The “Appalachian” Christmas Revels is replete with authentic fiddling, clogging, storytelling, and folk songs, along with a fabulous community cast and children’s chorus. It’s a show that’s filled with heart, humor, and an Appalachian soul that’s guaranteed to bring the holiday season alive. Welcome all ages and welcome Yule!

Boulder Theater, December 16 and December 22 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Tickets, 303-786-7030,

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