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Joyful'st Feast

Woods Hole Community Hall

68 Water Street, Woods Hole, MA

Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 4:00 PM
Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 4:00 PM

The Solstice Singers and guest artists will present “Joyful’st Feast” – a pageantry of songs and carols, instrumental music, poetry, drama and dance in the style of Medieval to Renaissance eras. The performances will take place on Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18 in Woods Hole - both at 4:00 PM.

Performed in colorful, period costumes, the program is woven around a 16th century poem by George Wither called “So, Now is Come our Joyful’st Feast” which describes Christmas celebrations of old, from wassailing around the town to ringing the rooftops with merriment.

Some pieces are sung a cappella, such as “Ay Luna,” a soulful piece sung in Spanish paying homage to the brightly shining solstice moon. Others are accompanied by Ensemble Passacaglia, such as the traditional “Boar’s Head Carol” during which children from Les Enfants du Soleil join in to celebrate the “joyful’st feast.” Audiences will hear other familiar songs and carols and will have an opportunity to join in on some of the singing.

In addition to accompanying the singers, Passacaglia will perform instrumental music by Gibbons, Machaut, Ortiz, and Praetorius. Members are Jan Elliott of Woods Hole on recorder and krumhorn, Lisa Esperson of Falmouth on percussion, Tom Hanna of Sandwich on lute, and Molly Johnston of Falmouth on viola da gamba.

A feature of this year’s show is the mummers play “The Battle of Bannockburn.” The play depicts a famous historical battle which gained Scotland’s independence from England. Written and directed by Wendell Bishop, one of the singers, the jovial play incorporates a traditional sword dance from Yorkshire. The dance, performed by Vineyard Swordfish, climaxes with the making and drawing of the sword "lock" which is instrumental in dispatching the hero, Robert the Bruce. He must then face a dreadful reincarnation and perhaps an even more frightening vision of the future. Accompanying the dancers is the Vineyard Swordfish band led by Ron Geering of Woods Hole on concertina.

“The promise of longer days, shorter nights, and rebirth is at the heart of eagerly anticipating the Winter Solstice,” advises Lore Loftfield De Bower, the show’s artistic director. “We invite the Cape Cod community to celebrate its arrival through the enjoyment of vibrant music, poetry and dance.”

Both shows on December 17 and 18 are at 4:00 PM in the Community Hall located at 68 Water Street in Woods Hole. The hall is accessible to people with disabilities. Attendees are invited to a reception that follows each performance. Free 3-hour street parking will be in effect in Woods Hole on both days for some of the metered spaces - check the description on the meter when you park.

For more information, email get-info@solsticesingers.org .

$20 at the door ($17 in advance) for adults
$12 students
$1 children under age 12

Online tickets:

Advance tickets:
Eight Cousins Bookstore (Falmouth)
Market Street Bookshop (Mashpee Commons)

The Solstice Singers is grateful for the generous support received from The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod , the Falmouth Cultural Council , and the Woods Hole Foundation.
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