Press Release:
Nowell Sing We Clear
PLACE: May Memorial Unitarian Universalist Society
3800 Ea. Genesee St., Syracuse, NY
DATE: Sunday, December 9, 2001
TIME: 3:00 p. m.
Contact: Maria Hosmer-Briggs
315-445-2646 / 395-6264 (cell) /
This will be the twenty-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, gi ft-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 v igorous 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 enact ment 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 r ebirth 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 and includes traditional step dancing. The audience wil l be supplied with songsheets and encouraged to sing along, though after two 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, diffe rent—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 the seasonal celebrations in some communities on the Eastern seaboard. This year the ensemble will be playing as far south as Washington, DC, and as far north as Derby Line, VT. The group has se veral recordings of songs from the show which have been popular items in many households at this time of year. A new CD, Just Say Nowell is scheduled for release in November and will be available on this year’s touring season. Hail Smiling Morn, with a co ver designed by famous Vermont artist Mary Azarian, is available on cassette and compact disk formats. The first three recordings Nowell Sing We Clear, The Second Nowell, and Nowell Sing We Clear: Volume III are available on cassette and are all well repr esented on a compact disk, The Best of Nowell: Volumes 1-III along with the popular Nowell Sing We Clear: Volume IV. All recordings are available from Golden Hind Records.
Press Note: Color Photos and slides also available. The performers are available for phone or audio interviews. Video footage is also available on request.
See also
Schedule at: