SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13
Nowell Sing We Clear
A Pageant of Mid-Winter Carols
at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 140 Maple Ave in Altamont, NY
Tickets: $20/adults; $5/children 12 & under
This will be the 40th and final season of Nowell Sing We Clear with its unusual songs, carols, stories and customs. Drawn mostly from English language folk traditions from both sides of the Atlantic, the songs tell both a version of the events and characters involved in the Christmas story and detail the customs that 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 today’s holiday traditions. A special and unusual treat is the enactment of a Mummer’s play from Kentucky, a madcap tale of death and rebirth done in street theater style and featuring characters such as Pickled Herring, Father Christmas and a hobby horse-riding doctor of questionable expertise.
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, supplied with song sheets, is encouraged to sing along on many of the carols and, indeed, this annual performance for Old Songs is especially noted for the robust participation of its audience. 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.