WOODSTOCK – Pentangle Arts is preparing for the upcoming holiday season with a festive lineup of entertainment for Wassail Weekend.
The highlight of the weekend is the 32nd annual equestrian parade on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m., coordinated by High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program and the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce. The best location to watch the parade is on the Village Green located in the center of Woodstock.
Pentangle Arts kicks off Wassail Weekend Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. with a screening of the National Theatre’s multi-award-winning production of “War Horse.” Since its first performance at the National Theatre in 2007, “War Horse” has become an international smash hit, capturing the imaginations of millions of people around the world.
Based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel and adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford, “War Horse” takes audiences on an extraordinary journey from the fields of rural Devon to the trenches of World War I France. Filled with stirring music and songs, this powerfully moving and imaginative drama is a show of phenomenal inventiveness. At its heart are astonishing life-size puppets by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.
Holiday House Tour
Wassail Weekend features one of Pentangle’s most popular events and its biggest fundraiser of the year: the 15th Annual Holiday House Tour on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. This holiday season experience the warm hospitality of old New England, when some of Woodstock’s most charming homes deck their halls and open their doors. For those who want the full Holiday House Tour experience, hop on the horse-drawn wagon pulled by Belgian Gelding horses Mike and Max that makes stops along the tour route. The wagon will make a number of loops, transporting visitors along the way. Docents await at each location to provide historical information and answer questions, and some of the homes feature live performances by local musicians. Tours are at your own pace.
This year’s tour begins at the historic Woodstock Town Hall Theatre and culminates at the Woodstock History Center’s Dana House. The Dana House was built in 1807 and remained in the Dana family’s hands until 1943, when it was sold to the Woodstock Historical Society. Today the house is furnished to represent the home of a 19th-century merchant. The house features Federal style details and simple elegance. Participants will be able to wander through the house with assistance from docents who are well versed in the history of the Dana Family.
The houses on the tour between the Pentangle Town Hall Theatre and the Dana House are kept top secret until the day of the tour. After visiting the Dana House, tour participants are invited to warm up and relax next door at a special Holiday House Tour reception at The Prince & The Pauper Restaurant. Long regarded as one of Vermont’s finest restaurants, The Prince & The Pauper celebrates its 36th year of excellence in the heart of Woodstock Village.
Pentangle is also proud to present a Wassail Celebration Performance on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. at Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, featuring children 7-13 from Pentangle’s After School Performing Arts Camp directed by Sharon Groblicki. The performance includes Morris Dance, Square dances, Sword and English Country Dance, songs from traditional Wassail Celebrations, and an American Mummers Play. The performance is free with donations graciously accepted.
The Wassail Weekend concert, Irish Christmas in America, will also be held Saturday, Dec. 10 at Woodstock Town Hall Theatre. This show begins at 8 p.m. This hugely popular show, features top Irish music, song and dance in an engaging performance rich in history, humor and boundless energy. The show was first conceived in 2005 with past tours featuring such stellar guest vocalists as Séamus Begley, Teresa Horgan, Méabh Begley, Lumiere, Karan Casey, Cara Dillon, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, Cathie Ryan and Michael Londra. This family-friendly performance brings Irish ballads, lively instrumental tunes and thrilling Irish dancing. Take a memorable glimpse into the enchanting spirit of Christmas, as the finest traditional artists from Ireland bring you on a fun-filled start to the holiday season!
Pentangle closes Wassail Weekend with the 33rd Annual Messiah Sing, conducted by Louis G. Burkot, professor of music, Dartmouth College and artistic director at Opera North, on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church in Woodstock. The event is free of charge with donations gratefully accepted.
For tickets or for more information, visit www.pentanglearts.org or call 802-457-3981.
Photo by Brinkhoff & Mögenburg
South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company bring charging horses to life onstage for the National Theater’s “War Horse.”