All Species Day
Since 1989, we have been celebrating All Species Day in Montpelier. Usually held on the first Sunday in May, it begins at Noon in Hubbard Park with calling in the creatures of the four directions, honoring the awakening Spring with song, dance, and puppet pageantry. Everyone is invited to come dressed as their favorite species and join in the festivities. The parade leaves the park after 1pm and arrives at the Statehouse 2:30pm for the Birth of Spring Pageant, Maypole dancing, and more. Mark you calendars and join us in celebrating the interdependence of all of the earth's beauty and bounty.
All Species Day is being celebrated on Sunday, April 30, 2023 ~ 12 - 4pm
Come Dressed as your Favorite Species and join in Celebrating our Interdependence with All of Life.
Sunday, April 30 - All Species Day
12 - 1 pm- Hubbard Park - Calling All Species, arrival of the Stag King, and line-up for Parade
1:15 - 2:15 pm- - Parade - From Park, to Main street and State Street
2:30 - 4:00 pm Birth Of Spring Pageant at Statehouse
Saturday, April 29- Pageant Rehearsal - Statehouse Lawn
11:30-12:30 ~ Calling All Species - Hubbard Park Soccer Field, below Old Shelter.
1:00 - 3:00 pm ~ Birth of Spring Pageant - Includes dance practices: Samba for the parade, Congo and Yemayah for Birth of Spring, the Flower Children's Dance and Songs.
3:00 - 4:00pm ~ Maypole Dance- Statehouse Lawn
Dance Rehearsal - Thursday, April 27, 10-10:40am at Capital City Grange - Route 12
Learn and practice Samba for the parade, Yemayah and Congo for Birth of Spring Pageant.
Puppeteers and Volunteers Needed! Contact us for details
Thank you Montpelier Alive and the City of Montpelier for your support.
The Music and Dance Traditions of All Species Day
Since 1989, Montpelier has been celebrating the rebirth of Spring with song and dance traditions from around the world. Since the 1990s, Montpelier's Afro-Caribbean Drum and Dance class has been core to the musical tradition of this event. This community participates in the folkloric dance and conga traditions of Cuba and Haiti. These powerful traditions claim lineage from the diasporic spiritual and cultural practices of Yoruba, Dahomey, Nago, Congo, and other African culture groups who were kidnapped and brought to the Caribbean during the Atlantic Slave Trade.
In 1981, 1988, and 2001, drummers and dancers from central Vermont traveled to Cuba to learn directly from master drummers and dancers of this tradition. Throughout the years, this drum and dance class community has been taught by teachers carrying forward Caribbean musical lineages including Richard Gonzales, Mona and John Amira, Pat Hall Smith, and Reynaldo Gonzales.
Stuart Paton of Burlington Taiko has been holding down this Haitian and Cuban drumming tradition in central Vermont for many years. He has traveled to Cuba, Guinea Conakry, and Senegal to learn directly from master drummers of those respective traditions. Dance teacher Carla Kevorkian of O Bread, and past teacher Katra Kindar, have been holding these Afro-Caribbean dance lineages in Montpelier. Other core drummers for All Species Day have included Ira Friedman, Tom Lasher, Linda Warnaar, Jordan Mensah of Shidaa Projects, Keith Levinson, Mica McDonald, and many others.
The specific dances and songs we practice for All Species Day are Samba (from Brazil) for the parade, Congo and Parigol (from Haiti) at the Winooski River crossing to honor Oshun the Yoruban goddess of sweet waters, and at the Statehouse Cuban rhythms dedicated to Yemaya, goddess of the ocean. The Cuban and Haitian rhythms played include secularized versions of Santería and Vodoun songs dedicated to these Orishas/Loa appropriate for public performance.
At the Hubbard Park ceremony, there is West African dance performed by the Wontonara Guinean drum and dance class taught by Seny Daffe. Seny is a master drummer, singer, and dancer born in Guinea Conakry. He has been studying the traditional musical arts since childhood and has performed and taught in Vermont since 2006.