The Magic Maker: A Portrait of John Langstaff, Creator of the Christmas Revels by Susan Cooper | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
The Magic Maker: A Portrait of John Langstaff, Creator of the Christmas Revels

The Magic Maker: A Portrait of John Langstaff, Creator of the Christmas Revels

by Susan Cooper
     
 

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On Christmas Eve in 1920, John Meredith Langstaff was born into a music-filled home where a rousing, wassailing carol party was the peak of his family's year. Half a century later, his inspired Christmas Revels was born, a theatrical weaving of traditional song, folkdance, and drama that has become a beloved institution across the country. Now award-winning author

Overview

On Christmas Eve in 1920, John Meredith Langstaff was born into a music-filled home where a rousing, wassailing carol party was the peak of his family's year. Half a century later, his inspired Christmas Revels was born, a theatrical weaving of traditional song, folkdance, and drama that has become a beloved institution across the country. Now award-winning author Susan Cooper, a friend and writer for the Revels, traces its roots through the rhythms of Jack Langstaff's life-from star choirboy (and notorious troublemaker) to his early career as a noted recital singer; from a daunting World War II injury to his work as recording artist, TV performer, teacher, and children's author. Along the way, his passion for music, ritual, and community fused to spark the incomparable Revels, a participatory celebration that promises to draw children of all ages for generations to come.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
The Christmas Revels are a theatrical experience combining dance, drama, and song that enchant thousands of viewers and participants across the country each year. Langstaff, their creator, trod a long road to their inception, each of his experiences adding a thread to the final colorful tapestry. Cooper, a personal friend and collaborator in the Revels, traces Langstaff's life from humble beginnings in the midst of the Depression to his death in 2007 particularly highlighting the various ways music played a role in everything he did. His varied career included stints as a choirboy, recital singer, recording artist, TV performer, teacher, and author. He is, no doubt, an interesting and influential person yet many will probably not know enough to think of seeking out more information about him. The niche group who know of the Revels will find this a well-thought out and thorough resource. This a great glimpse into the life of a fascinating man. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
About a year before his death, Langstaff asked Cooper to help him write a book about how his childhood experiences with music led to his involvement in musical theater. Though the project never got off the ground, she decided to write it for him. Raised in a family who hosted annual Christmas carol parties, Langstaff was sent to a choir boarding school at the age of seven, where he quickly became a star soloist. After serving in World War II, he began a career as a well-known children's music teacher and authored several books of children's songs. Langstaff had a tremendous respect for the value of tradition and ritual in music, and in 1971 he and his daughter, Carol, created the first Christmas Revels, performances that combine traditional music, dance, and drama with audience participation. The well-researched narrative contains many quotes from primary sources such as Langstaff's letters and interviews with his family and associates (unfortunately, there are no source notes or index). Readers will finish this book feeling as though they have come to know the man who "was not so much a teacher as a missionary."—Jackie Partch, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763656577
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/11/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Susan Cooper is the author of the five-volume fantasy series The Dark Is Rising (including the Newbery Medal Winner The Grey King) as well as many other books for children and adults. She is the recipient of two Writers Guild Awards for television films, was co-author of the Broadway play Foxfire, and is a board member of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. She lives on an island in a salt-marsh in Massachusetts.

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