In the 1940's, while attending Wellesley College, Julie was a serious folk and square dancer. She belonged to a hotshot square dancing group that danced at the 1947 Folk Fest. This extraordinary group has continued to get together every month for the past 50 years! Currently, twelve of them meet and they discuss things like their travels or someone will present on a topic, such as Sacred Harp.
In the 1950's, Julie's interests grew to include Scottish and English folk dancing and she began attending Pinewoods and Early Music Weeks. She met Jack Langstaff somewhere along the way. When Jack put on the first Christmas Revels in Cambridge in 1971, Julie was in the audience. Julie and her family loved Revels and her son Duncan (who now lives in Australia) was a dancer in the 1978 Haddon Hall Christmas Revels.
After attending for many years, Julie became disturbed by something she kept seeing in The Christmas Revels. She noticed that there were older men in the cast but no older women. So in 1989, Julie auditioned for the show with Jack and George Emlen, Revels' current music director. Knowing Jack since the 1950's, Julie was comfortable enough to tell him that she was there because, "having all these old men and only young chicks in the cast gave the show a bad image"! So, at the "older" age of 60, Julie performed in her first Christmas Revels.
Being in that show provided Julie with her favorite Revels memory. Julie's costume was a gorgeous green silk ball gown which she wore as she danced Victorian parlor dances with Ron Smedley, the lead in the show. Julie was so happy when she was allowed to borrow the gown and wear it to the Scottish Ball.
After this wonderful experience, Julie was again in The Christmas Revels cast of the Celtic show with Norman Kennedy in 1992. She has many fond memories of Norman staying at her house during the show's run. It was a very snowy year and they traveled on the T together many times to and from the theater. Julie says, "He was quite a character!" Julie was also in the 1998 Victorian Christmas Revels and an Irish-themed summer show at the DeCordova Museum.
In the early 1990's, Julie began volunteering in the Revels office to help with the Christmas ticket sales, back when tickets were sold out of the office. She stayed on and continued to volunteer regularly in the office as a way to keep up the connection with Revels that she had felt as a cast member.
In addition to her work with Revels, Julie also volunteers at Christ Church Cambridge, where she has been a parishioner for about 50 years. She has traveled the world, met the Dalai Lama and practices yoga regularly (and inspired her yoga teacher to volunteer with Revels too!).
Julie says that one of Revels strengths is its sense of community. She has felt such a strong sense of connection; it even feels like a family. Julie points out that everyone wants to feel like they belong. And the Revels community has been, and continues to be, an important connection in her life.
1. Julie meets the Dalai Lama and 2. Julie and Jim Lawton backstage at The Christmas Revels