The Christmas Revels is packed with audience participation, music, dance and high-spirited fun. Eleven matinee and evening performances will play The Scottish Rite Center Theater, SW 15th and Morrison St, Portland, Oregon. The celebration opened last night, Friday, December 7, and performances continue through Sunday, Dec 16, Directed by Bruce Hostetler and featuring music by the Portland Brass Quintet & The Blue Mountain String Band.

The Christmas Revels this year brings to Portland audiences the wonderful music and dance of mid-1800s Appalachia, delightfully framed in a story rooted in historic tradition. Joining the 70+ members of the Revels choruses will be singer and dancer Suzannah Park from Asheville, North Carolina, Portland actors Ithica Tell and Shuhe Hawkins, and a string band of superbly talented local musicians including Betsy Branch, Leela Grace, Gabrielle Macrae, Kevin Sandri, and Sophie Vitells. And. as always, the Portland Brass Quintet will festively frame the show and provide amazing sound effects.

As the mountain winds drift the winter snow ever higher the cast serves up warming solstice portions of early American and Appalachian music, dance and culture for the audience to enjoy and participate in. The members of our small Appalachian mountain village community celebrate the shortest day of the year together, passing along a rich heritage to their next generation. The hall rings with carols, spirituals, and toe-tapping tunes. The high-energy music gets folks clogging and joining in joyous square dances to chase the winter darkness away. As always, audience members have a chance to sing along and join in the party fun. Into this revelry wanders a wagonload of pioneers seeking shelter from the storm. When a mysterious stranger seems to threaten the community and the future looks its darkest the travelers help their hosts regain their precious heritage and see the light of the new day.

The music for this year's show is a delightful mix of composed and folk songs from a variety of choral and instrumental traditions of the American 1800s, including shape note carols and Shaker hymns and spirituals. Sacred Harp pieces will include "Exultation" and "Wondrous Love"; Shaker songs include "Give Good Gifts" and "I Will Bow and be Simple." Spirituals such as "Down by the Riverside" and "Go Tell it on the Mountain" and powerful composed pieces by William Billings ("Bethlehem" and "Shiloh") and Stephen Foster's "Slumber my Darling" are all part of the 2012 Portland Christmas Revels.

Bruce Hostetler is Stage Director, Robert Lockwood is Music Director, Set by Larry Larsen, Costumes by Margaret Chapman (who has won two consecutive PAMTA awards for her Christmas Revels work.

11 Performances (two one-hour acts with one intermission)
7:30 pm Friday, Dec. 7
1:00 pm Saturday, Dec. 8
7:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 8
1 pm Sunday, Dec. 9
7:00 pm Sunday, Dec. 9
7:30 pm Thursday, Dec. 13
7:30 pm Friday, Dec. 14
1 pm Saturday, Dec. 15
7:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 15
1 pm Sunday, Dec. 16
5 pm Sunday, Dec. 16

All performances take place at The Scottish Rite Center Theater, 1512 SW Morrison (Corner of SW 15th and Morrison St, Portland, Oregon).

Admission: Adult ticket prices begin at $18; Senior and Student Ticket prices begin at $12; Children ticket prices begin at $7. Tickets available online at www.portlandrevels.org, or by calling the Revels Box Office at 503-200-1604

Incorporated in 1994, Portland Revels is a non-profit organization dedicated to seasonal celebration through music, dance, Theater Productions and educational outreach.

Photo Credit: David Kinder

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