December 19 – We celebrate one of our favorite traditions every year in December when the snow begins to fall and days are at their shortest. That tradition – Revelry – combines skits, songs, dances, and seasonal storytelling, heralding the winter solstice and another winter break.
Revelry began at RCS in 1973, but some of the songs and skits originated hundreds of years before that. Victorian costumes bring the Pavane alive, a solemn dance from Rennaisance Italy; “The Mummers Play” retells the story of St. George defeating a dragon, a tale from medieval times.
We’re sometimes asked what this unique performance means and how it became such a favorite school tradition. Inspiration may have come from singer and music educator John Langstaff, who brought the first Christmas Revels to New York City’s Town Hall in 1957 – a collection of traditional medieval songs, dances, and drama to celebrate the season. In 1966 Mr. Langstaff created a television version of Revels for NBC’s “Hallmark Hall of Fame” – a young Dustin Hoffman played St. George’s dragon. In 1971, Mr. Langstaff and his daughter Carol revived TheChristmas Revels in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a show that continues today and has spread to cities across the country.
Revelry continues to bring joy to the RCS community and connect current students to generations of alumni who danced many of the same dances and still fondly recall the lyrics to favorites like “Dona Nobis Pacem.”
Rippowam Cisqua School is a PreK-Grade 9 independent day school in Westchester County, New York. RCS offers challenging academics built on innovation, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, wellness, leadership, service learning, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.