When Adam Weinstein, his wife Heather Salon, and their two children Simon and Twyla moved to Norwich eight and half years ago, they were greeted by revelers... literally. On the day of their arrival, the Summer Revels festival was happening on the green, a memorable introduction to the town. As they settled into the community, they also became Revelers.
Revelers are participants of Revels North, the Hanover based performance organization that focuses on traditional song, dance, storytelling and ritual. The grand spectacle each year is the Christmas Revels which takes place at the Hopkins Center for the Arts and is seen by nearly five thousand people each year over the course of a weekend. The 2017 show was a Nordic Celebration of the Winter Solstice and featured traditional songs, stories, and dances of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Denmark. Previous years have featured traditions of Quebec, Appalachia, Ireland, and England. Besides the Christmas Revels, other Revels North programming includes the Spring Singers, the aforementioned Summer Revels, The Band of Fools, and informal pub sings and community dances.
Their children were the first Revelers, participating in Revels Kids. Currently, Simon, a student at Hanover High school, is the most involved family member, participating in nearly every Revels program to the point where he prioritizes Revels over other extracurricular activities. His talents landed him one of the leading roles in a previous Christmas Revels, and also plays string bass in the Band of Fools. Twyla, who just turned ten, loves singing in Revels programs, and her parents suspect she may become more involved like her big brother when she gets older.
Adam’s hectic work schedule prevents him from performing as often as he’d like, but was thrilled to have received the opportunity to perform with his children in his first ever Christmas Revels this past year.
Heather claims she’s neither a singer, dancer, or actress, but that doesn’t thwart her from participating in Revels. Other than being an avid supporter of her children and husband, she’s also Revels North board member. She enjoys seeing how things work from the inside and dealing with the challenges of how to move the organization forward.
According to Adam, one of the best aspects of Revels is that it keeps traditions alive. It’s an excellent way to learn about different cultures while also teaching the community through song, dance, and theatre. Heather loves the intergenerational friendships that occur. She says that Revels is one of the few places where kids actually get to hang out and become friends with adults.
But truly, what keeps this family participating is the happiness and embrace they’ve felt within the Revels community. As to why more Norwich residents should join, Adam says, “When you’re stressed out with the world, it’s nice to come together with other people in kindness.”