On Saturday, December 17 we’ll hold our Annual Solstice Party starting at 7:00 PM. The Monadnock Folklore Society brings this community event to the Nelson Town Hall each year, admission is $5, and treats are appreciated for the dessert potluck. This year the evening will begin with a holiday concert featuring a selection of traditional and original seasonal music; as part of the concert 2011 Johnny Trombly Scholarship recipient will entertain us with their musicianship. The Folklore Society invites you to bring along your favorite holiday dessert and we’ll supply the beverages for the intermission. After the concert the chairs and benches are cleared to make way for a traditional New England Contradance. Unfortunately, or not, the dance is often interrupted by various groups of unsavory characters presenting their idea of seasonal entertainment. These diversions, sometimes involving costumed individuals making complete fools of themselves or performing ancient ritual dances to help us through this dark time of the year, are generally tolerated as once they are applauded and fed we can return to dancing the night away.
One of our Annual Seasonal Extravaganzas!
NOT TO BE MISSED!
Friday, December 9 at 8:00 PM
DUBLIN COMMUNITY CHURCH
This will be the thirty-seventh touring season of Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories, and customs. Drawn mostly from English-language folk traditions, the songs tell both a version of the events and characters involved in the Christmas story and detail the customs which make up the twelve magical days following the return of the light at the winter solstice. Many of these ancient customs are the basis of the today’s holiday traditions, such as visiting and feasting, gift-giving, carol singing from door-to-door and the adorning of houses and churches with garlands of evergreen.
Nowell Sing We Clear celebrates Christmas as it was known for centuries in Britain and North America and as it continues in many places to the present. The songs come from an age when the midwinter season was a time for joyous celebration and vigorous expression of older, perhaps pagan, religious ideas. There is not always a clear line between these and the rejoicing at the birth of Jesus bringing a fresh light into the world at this dark midwinter time. A special and unusual treat is the enactment of a Mummers Play from Kentucky. Performed in the traditional manner, the play is typical of folk dramas which survive to this day throughout Britain and North America symbolizing and portraying the death of the land at midwinter and its subsequent rebirth in the spring.
While much of the singing is done in unaccompanied style, the pageant is also stamped with the energetic dance band sound of fiddle, button accordion, electric piano, drums, and concertina. The audience will be supplied with songsheets and encouraged to sing along, though after three decades of touring in New England, a whole generation of young people have grown up with these songs and carols and sing along with as much as they can. Some “new”, that is “different”, songs and carols are introduced every year. Performers are John Roberts and Tony Barrand, widely known for their lively presentations of English folk songs, and Fred Breunig and Andy Davis, well known in New England as dance callers and musicians.
Nowell Sing We Clear has become a regular part of some communities on the Eastern seaboard. The group has several recordings of songs from the show which have been popular items in many households at this time of year. Their CDs are drawn from songs learned for their concerts: The newest is Just Say Nowell, Hail Smiling Morn has a cover designed by famous Vermont artist, Mary Azarian, and Nowell SingWe Four.The first three LP recordings are all well represented on a compact disk, The Best of Nowell: 1976 – 1985 All recordings are available from Golden Hind Records.