Music

John Langstaff

Born 24 December 1913. Died 13 December 2005.

Biography

John Langstaff (December 24, 1920 – December 13, 2005), a concert baritone, and early music revivalist was the founder of the Northeast United States tradition of the Christmas Revels, as well as a respected musician and educator. He attended the Curtis Institute of Music as well as Juilliard. In 1943 he married Diane Hamilton. They divorced in 1947. He was later married to Nancy Trowbridge, a pianist.

Langstaff's lifelong project, the Christmas Revels, began in 1957 with a show in New York. In 1971, the longest running Revels, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, began. The Revels, an eclectic mix of medieval and modern music and dance (primarily English in basis), involves the audience and the community in a continuation of pagan and older Christian traditions. Revels shows, now spread over the Northeast and the world, draw on local talent. Morris dancing, mummers, bagpipers and large choruses of men, women and children celebrate the turning of the Winter Solstice in a cheerful fashion.

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