California Revels 
Creating Community Through Celebration
California Revels Newsletter
Oakland, CA
April 1, 2012
in this issue...
6th Annual Summer Solstice Celebration
The Seasons of Reveling
Chorus Auditions
Toting Ivy

2012 Summer Solstice Gala

Save the date of Sunday June 24th for California Revels annual Summer Solstice Gala at the Oakland Zoo's Snow Building. The evening will include a delcious dinner, fine local wines, plenty of wonderful entertainment and a silent & live auction with some truly unique items.  All tickets are $75 again this year. Each year the gala becomes more popular than the year before. The 2011 gala sold out early so get your tickets now!

Solstice in a wine glass 


Revels Events for 2012


2012 Calendar of Events 

(See our website for updates.)


April 21 - John Muir's Birthday & Earthday Celebration at John Muir House. 10-4 The Revels Solstice Ensemble will be singing on stage at 1:30pm. Admission and parking are free.


April 28 - Revels' May Day Celebration at the Oakland Zoo 1pm

This is our annual celebration of May Day with the crowning of the May Queen, Morris and Maypoles, and lots of good singing from and with our Solstice Ensemble. Join us at the Valley Children's Zoo for a traditional celebration the whole family will enjoy. Procession starts at 1:00 PM. Free with Zoo admission.

For more on annual May Day festivities at the Zoo, see the 2010 article in the San Francisco Chronicle.


May 6 - Revels' May Day Celebration at the Pelican Inn , Muir Beach  1:30pm

What better place to welcome in the May than on the lawn of the famed Pelican Inn. Traditional English fun includes singing, Maypoles and massed Morris!  Free admission. 1:30 parade, featuring the fearsome Padstow 'Obby 'Oss. 
June 2 & 3 - Adult & Teen choral auditions the 2012 Christmas Revels.   (NEW DATES!) See below for details.

June 10 - Children's (7-12) auditions for the 2012 Christmas Revels. (NEW DATE!) See below for details.  

June 24 - Revels' Summer Solstice Gala. Dinner, drinks and wonderful entertainment, Revels style. 
September 1 & 2 - Revels Solstice Ensemble appears at the 147th Scottish Highland Gathering and Games in Pleasanton.


September 3 - The 3rd Annual Abbot's Bromliad. Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. 

December 2 - Yule at the Zoo, Oakland Zoo.
December 7-9 & 14-16  "The Celestial Fools" - the 27th  Annual Christmas Revels: A Celebration of the Winter Solstice at the Oakland Scottish Rite Theater.


Auditions Set for the 2012

Christmas Revels

Audition dates are set for the 27th Annual Christmas Revels: A Theatrical Celebration of the Winter Solstice. We are looking for singers to join our talented chorus of adults, teens and children.  Rehearsals begin in early October and continue until performances on December 7-9 & 14-16.   

adultauditionADULTS AND TEENS:

June 2&3 by appointment

Oakland Scottish Rite Center

1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland 

 Parking for the Scottish Rite is behind the building on Madison Ave between 17th & 15th Streets.
Call Chorus Manager Lynn Ungar to schedule your audition time: (510) 247-3234. You can also email her for more information.  Auditions will be held between 9am - 12pm on Saturday and 12:30pm - 4pm on Sunday.  Your specific audition will last about 15 minutes.


Bring one prepared song.  You will also sing with a small group of other potential cast members.


Please bring any advance notification of possible rehearsal or performance conflicts.



childrenauditionsCHILDREN ages 7-12

June 10, 12:00-2:00pm

Oakland Scottish Rite Center

1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland

Parking for the Scottish Rite is behind the building on Madison Ave between 17th & 15th Streets.


Please arrive at the Scottish Rite Center at 12:00 sharp. 


Children do not need to make an appointment and do not need to prepare a song in advance. This is a group audition which may take up to two hours. Please be patient.



From the Artistic Director

Artistic Director's Report

Toting Ivy


About the time of the winter solstice last December, an intriguing letter floated into my mailbox. It came from the Hallam family (Jim was a former Treasurer of the California Revels board), and contained a rather delightful narration. It left me wondering just how many terms and concepts with ancient roots live on in common parlance.  You'll see what I mean.  Jim wrote,


"The following description of how the solstice is celebrated was discovered years ago though the source has been forgotten.


There is a table mountain in western Ireland that the inhabitants of two villages, Docie and Mercie, have used to graze their sheep for hundreds of years.  The steep faces of the mountain serve as a barrier to predators and the top is studded with large oak trees that help shelter the sheep.  However, during the late fall and winter months, the villagers are required to tote feed up to the sheep.  It was the Druids that started the tradition of "Toting Ivy." 

The Druids of western Ireland believed that forests are ruled by the Oak King and that he is constantly challenged by the Ivy Queen.  During the winter months, when oaks are leafless and dormant and ivy is vibrantly green and thriving, the Ivy Queen gains the upper hand.  Once the days start getting longer her power starts to fade.  Believing that feeding the sheep ivy produces manure that strengthens the oaks and hastens the return of the sun, once the oaks start to loose their leafs the villagers start to tote ivy to the table top pasture and do so until the shortest day of the year. 

On that day all the males make the last ivy tote of the year and the females prepare a magnificent feast.  Both activities are leisurely and conversation is encouraged.  It is a chance for neighbors to reconnect and adults to have discussions with youngsters that could never occur in mixed company. 

Though the villagers no longer believe in the oak and ivy conflict, they still cherish the tradition and to this day on every winter solstice the Mercies tote, the Docies tote, and the little lambs eat ivy."


Suffused in the warm, peaty glow of this quintessentially Irish fable, we would like to leave you with the following bit of verse:


A story's passed from hand to hand.

Perhaps it spreads across the land,

Receiving from each tongue a new

Inflection, as it ambles through.

Language plays in ways unplanned.


For some, it's the age makes the tale seem true.

Of course it is apt if the ear is delighted.

Of course we believe when tradition is cited.

Look out, though, we just put one over on you.


                    - David Parr, Artistic Director

 April 1, 2012


 All of David's past columns can be found on the California Revels website under "Dragon Fumets".











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