hero_About Us

About Us


The dilemma of a Quaker woman who must choose between freeing her slaves–or being cut off by her community; the narrative of an ex-slave who establishes a community in rural Maryland; letters from a Southern lady that reveal a little-known side of the War; and the immortal words of President Abraham Lincoln.


Music played an integral part of the Civil War—in the battlefields and on the home front. In addition to the patriotic tunes, campaign songs, bugle calls, and soldier’s songs, there was the music of “folks back home” who were waiting and praying for war’s end. Back home, music played an even more important role, celebrating the ties of family, supporting a hope for better times, consoling endless sorrow, and inspiring the ideal of freedom. The music emanated from quiet parlors, and rang from plantation praise houses and country churches. It was passed from fields and farmhouses and from bloody battlefields and slave quarters. And the music and songs influenced one another, giving shape to a new, uniquely American music.

About Washington Revels

Through performance, education and outreach, Washington Revels is dedicated to reviving and celebrating cultural traditions—music, dance, storytelling, drama and ritual—that have bound communities together over the ages and across the globe. We are a multigenerational and diverse performing arts community of professionals and nonprofessionals, with over 250 performers and hundreds of production team members each year.

  • Washington Revels offers year-round events that provide audiences with unique opportunities to experience, interact, and participate in singing, dancing, and story-telling.
  • Our programs combine traditional elements to create something entirely new, blending professionals and non-professionals, children and adults, and a range of cultural traditions in a way that transforms the spirit as much as it entertains.
  • Through participation in performances of traditional material, and mentoring youth in artistic traditions, theatrical disciplines, and shared values, we seek to transmit enduring values from generation to generation.
  • Revels is not something that you just watch: it is something you experience!

What differentiates a Washington Revels program most from other performing arts groups is its sense of community, its interactive approach, and an underlying objective to unite people in unique ways through the performing arts. Washington Revels events are reminders of the deep human need to come together and connect in celebration as a community.

Banner photo credit: Bruce Guthrie