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Welcome Winter

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What's on at Dartmouth for the holiday season and beyond

Indoors and out, for spectators and participants, winter at Dartmouth offers a wealth of things to do. Here's a selection of events special to the season.


On stage

Christmas Revels

Are modal melodies issuing from the office next to yours? Do you pass colleagues in the hall muttering in archaic French? You may be hearing the sound of this year's Christmas Revels, The King and the Fool: A Medieval French Celebration of Winter Solstice, which runs Dec. 18 through 21. Dartmouth and DHMC employees compose about one-fifth of the production's 60-member auditioned chorus.

Alan Gelfant, who teaches in the Writing and Rhetoric Program, plays the king (left) in this year's Christmas Revels. Skip Cady is the fool.(Photo by Mat Doyle)

Revels is an annual show of authentic music, dance, story, and pageantry connected to the winter solstice. This year's show is set in a fictitious French kingdom in the Middle Ages as it celebrates the Time of Misrule, when a peasant is crowned king for a day.

Effie Cummings, academic assistant in the Department of Theater, admits she's "been known to have French Medieval music emanating from my computer."

Bill Schults, an analyst for the DHMC Clinical Information Systems and a chorus member for 22 of the Revels' 34 years, says that he often sings at work, to memorize lyrics and vocal parts. "I don't mind getting 'caught,' because it gives me a chance to talk about the show and how magical and fun it is," he says.

Two other Dartmouth employees are among this year's professional "guest artists": Hildur Colot, who balances her work as a research associate in Dartmouth Medical School's Department of Genetics with an active career in early music; and Alan Gelfant, a teacher and tutor in the College's Writing and Rhetoric Program and a professional actor and director for TV, movies, and the stage, who will play the king.

Performances are Thursday and Friday, Dec. 18 and 19, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 20, at 2 and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 21, at 1 and 5 p.m. Tickets are $23; $10 for children 18 and under ($5 for the Thursday show); $17 for Dartmouth employees; and $5 for Dartmouth students. Contact the Hop Box Office at 646-2422.

The Handel Society's Celebration of the Season

Led by Conductor Robert Duff, the Handel Society's Celebration of the Season concert on Dec. 2 will feature Bach's Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243; Britten's A Ceremony of Carols for Women's Chorus and Harp, as well as traditional English carols, and 20th-century motets by Willan, Lauridsen, Rachmaninoff, and Poulenc.

Since 1807, the Handel Society of Dartmouth College has brought classical music to Hanover. The group's holiday concert is always one of its most popular performances.

"Several of the pieces are light, secular, and cheerful," says Stanley Stys, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who sings tenor.

Linda Hoover, an accounting assistant for Dartmouth Dining Services, who sings second soprano, adds, "All of the music to be performed has that 'out-of-time' quality; it gives you the sense of other singers, other places, singing through the years."

The concert will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Hopkins Center's Spaulding Auditorium. Tickets are $20, $3 for Dartmouth students. Contact the Hop Box Office at 646-2422.

Deck the halls

Christmas tree lighting

Dartmouth will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3, on the Green. This year's tree, a 40-foot fir donated by Sandy Allen of Hanover, will be lit by Katie and Andrew Davis, children of Visiting Instructor of Education and Tucker Foundation Program Officer Jay Davis '90, and his wife, Julie Sander Davis ’91, DMS ’95. Dartmouth's Glee Club, conducted by Louis Burkot, will sing carols and choral music. Call 646-3749 for more information.

Hanover Inn gingerbread tree house

The Hanover Inn's bakers have created a woodland scene featuring a gingerbread tree house for this year's festive display in the inn's lobby. They promise "a surprise at every turn" to anyone who comes and looks closely.

The gingerbread display also includes a special opportunity for young writers in the third through sixth grades, who are invited to write a story about the scene. All stories must be 500 words or fewer and submitted to the inn's front desk or via email by Friday, Dec. 12.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 24, at the start of "Storytelling with Judy Witters," held from 10 to 11 a.m., in the Hayward Lounge. For more information, call 643-4300.

Eat, drink, and be merry

Hot cider and cookies

Dartmouth students, faculty, staff, and their families are invited to join President James Wright and Susan DeBevoise Wright for hot cider and cookies at the Top of the Hop on Wednesday, Dec. 3, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Call 646-3749 for more information.

Hood Museum of Art holiday open house

Enjoy refreshments and light snacks in the Kim Gallery and live performances in Loew Auditorium on Wednesday, Dec. 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This annual event-free and open to the public-is an opportunity to kick off the holiday season while surrounded by inspiring art.

Spend an evening with Students Fighting Hunger

Looking for a chance to spread some holiday cheer? With many students away during the interim period, the organization Students Fighting Hunger needs help preparing meals and providing company for its Friday Night Dinners in December.

Volunteer Gabrielle Emanuel '10 says the evenings have become a highlight of her week."Together we cook, eat, and clean up. Anyone can see how much fun it is and how many close friendships have formed. These dinners, which address food needs and provide good company, have created their own uniquely diverse and committed community."

Dinners are at the Edgerton Episcopal Student Center, 14 School Street, in Hanover. Preparation begins at 3:30 p.m., meals are served at 5 p.m. To volunteer, contact the Tucker Foundation.

Bundle up, get out

Dartmouth Outing Club

The Dartmouth Cross Country Ski Center kicks off a season's worth of events on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009, with the year's first Story Time and Marshmallow Roast, 11 a.m. in the main room of the DOC House on Occom Pond. The event is appropriate for children ages three through eight, accompanied by their parents.

Story times continue on various weekend dates through February; find details online.

Weather permitting, the Cross Country Ski Center offers ice skating, skiing, and sledding. Equipment rentals begin in December.

Hot drinks and snacks, waxes and ski accessories, skate sharpening, and trail advice, as well as group cross country ski lessons, are offered on weekends, conditions permitting. For rates and hours, call 643-6534.


Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08