Merry Gentlemen: Nowell Sing We Clear returns on Dec. 11

Thursday December 6, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- Nowell Sing We Clear, featuring Tony Barrand, Fred Breunig, Andy Davis and John Roberts, will be presented at the Latchis Theater on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m.

First performed in 1975, Nowell Sing We Clear celebrates the mid-winter season as it was known for centuries in Britain and North America. The songs come from an age when this time of year was a time for joyous celebration and vigorous expression of older, perhaps pagan, religious ideas. Many of these ancient customs are the basis of today’s holiday traditions, such as carol singing from door-to-door and adorning houses and churches with garlands of evergreen.

The first half of the program, "The Prince of Peace," celebrates the birth of Jesus as told in the carols and songs found in the folk traditions of Britain and North America. "The Twelve Days," the second half, offers carols heard in the Twelve Magic Days following the winter solstice. An annual feature is the enactment of a Mummers Play from Kentucky. Performed in the traditional manner, the play is typical of folk dramas which survive to this day throughout Britain and North America portraying the death of the land at mid-winter and its subsequent rebirth in the spring. Mummers plays often have political references, and the question always is, "Who will Tony be this year?"

The pageant of mid-winter carols is stamped with the dance band sound of fiddle, accordion, concertina and piano, although many of the songs are performed in unaccompanied four-part harmony. The audience will be supplied with song sheets and encouraged to sing along.

Tickets in advance are $20, $17 for seniors and children under 12, and are available at Everyone’s Books on Elliot Street,, or by mail (send check or money order payable to "Tony Barrand" to Fred Breunig, 126 Prospect St. Brattleboro VT 05301). Tickets at the door will be $22, $19 for seniors and children under 12. Paid tickets will be held at the door.

For more information about the Brattleboro concert, call 802-254-9019. For more in the tour, visit


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