Category Archives: President’s notes

A Welsh Celebration of the Winter Solstice

Christmas Revels in Boston, December 2015

By Susan Sit, President, WSWNE

BostonRevels

Snow falling on the final scene at the Christmas Revels, Boston, MA.

Many WSWNE members drove to Boston in December to see the Christmas Revels, many of us for the first time. What a treat it was! The Revels at Christmastime are held at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University, Boston. As Paddy Swanson the Artistic Director said “Its a wonder that it has taken so long to get to Wales. After all, our Musical Director is an Emlyn and I grew up a few miles away from the border of this magical country……. Our good friend Susan Cooper, (note: who had a grandmother from West Wales) author of the much-loved Revels poem “The Shortest Day”…used to to play as a child around the sea towns of North Wales… Susan helped us write a script that conjures a Wales of humor, warmth, and harmony, all set against a background of ghostly horses, shape-changers and dragons.” George Ellyn said “I went back to Wales. I plunged into the deep, deep pool of Welsh Music”

Can you just imagine what this particular Revels was like for us? Some from Wales with tears of Hiraeth in our eyes; for the fans of Welsh myth and legend watching the red dragon defeat the English white dragon; and for singers, singing along with Ar Hyd Y Nos, Cwm Rhondda, Men of Harlech, Sospan Fach and more? It truly was magical and we are so happy to have made the effort to go to Boston.

Magdalen Dowden said: What fun the interactive Christmas Revels were, in Cambridge this last December.  The stage was set in scenes mimicking the village in Dylan’s play “Under Milk Wood”.  The performances by singers, actors and dancers, both adults and children, conjured a strong feeling of hiraeth for our little group; lots of tears from those of us far away from home. The cast was coached in Welsh language and Welsh accent, even the children, and they were practically faultless. The Mari Lwyd, a white skeletal horse of South Walian tradition, was spectacular. A wonderful evening with good friends from the Welsh Society.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

What an amazing holiday event…the range & variety of performances, theater play, story telling, song & dance and more!  Oh yes…we sang along a few times too! A wonderfully good time for all. The pub afterward added another dimension to a fun night! Don W. Sit

Susan Sit, President, WSWNE

 

January President’s Note from Susan Davies Sit

Bore da, pawb!

I have spent the last 8 days in wonderful Wales. My Welsh family wondered why I was traveling there in January, in the middle of winter, but the airfares are less than half the cost of summer flights, flights are less than half full and it’s warmer and less snowy than New England! Conwy Castle

Did it rain? Yes it rained. I think it rained every day at some point….but it didn’t stop my mum and I doing anything on our list.

We drove through Snowdonia, via Betws-y-Coed for lunch and shopping for Welsh “things” that I just can’t do without, stopped for photographs of the snowy mountain tops and steel grey lakes, through Capel Curig and Caernarfon and back home to Rhos-on-Sea on the North Wales coast.

Another day took us around the place of my Taid’s ancestors, the isle of Anglesey, with lunch at the White Eagle in Rhoscolyn overlooking the Lleyn Peninsular and a drive around its’ coast through Llanfaethlu, Bull Bay, Amlwch, and Benllech then back across the Menai Straits to the shores of Bangor and home.

Pastries in WalesRestaurants and pubs in Wales are increasingly noting the source of their meats, seafood and vegetables. Locally grown produce and local farm-raised meats are served on every menu. I enjoyed local beef, partridge and lamb. We watched a fishing boat trawling back and forth on the Menai Straits for Anglesey mussels while enjoying an afternoon tea of scones, bara brith and lemon curd mousse etc. Heaven? Close to it.

I’ll see you on St. David’s Day for our lunch and “Welsh traditions” presentation which promises to be wonderful.

Hwyl!

Susan Davies Sit, President