Revels looks ahead with Saturday’s ‘Summer Solstice Soiree’ benefit
Maybe it’s not technically summer, but in the magical world of traditional song and dance brought to life in Cambridge by the nonprofit Revels organization, Saturday is time for “Midsummer Night Revels: A Summer Solstice Soiree.” The gathering takes place at 8 p.m. at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, 145 Brattle St., west of Harvard Square.
Revels, producer of the annual “Christmas Revels” at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre and “Revels RiverSing” along the banks of the Charles, celebrates the approaching solstice with this fundraiser, promising “great food and drink, Scandinavian-style dancing and seasonal entertainments including a Midsommarstang — a giant Swedish Midsummer pole!” (A “sumptuous dessert buffet” also gets a lot of emphasis in the literature.)
Of course the main draw is the usual traditional storytelling and music by a volunteer chorus of children and adults, as well as professional actors and musicians, outfitted handsomely and professionally directed. The other delight of Revels, as organizers say, is that “at each performance, this community invites the audience to join it. The audience always accepts the invitation, to make noises, to sing carols, to join hands with strangers and dance. Audience participation is the hallmark of Revels.”
Saturday’s event includes a silent and live auction with prizes that range outside the usual Revels fare, considering someone attending Saturday’s benefit will walk away with special passes for Bruce Springsteen’s Aug. 14 performance at Fenway.
Revels has companies in 10 cities, and its first production was in New York in 1957. Its start as an organization, though, came with the first performances of “The Christmas Revels” at the Sanders Theatre in 1971. In addition to performing, the organization educates with programs dedicated to honoring founder John Langstaff, whose six years at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge was only a fraction of his time teaching.
Tickets are $35 at the Revels website.