“Hear Ye Hear Ye,” Brainerd Dispatch readers.
The Brainerd High School A Cappella Choir would like to announce its upcoming Madrigal Dinner -- which is a 21st Century re-creation of the Renaissance feasts in the baronial halls throughout England during the 12 days of Christmas. The students -- who will all be dollied up in costumes -- would like lakes area residents to be their favored guests at their dinner to be presented for three nights Dec. 5-7 at Cragun's Legacy Golf Course Clubhouse.
The clubhouse seats 200 guests per night. Tickets are $35, plus a service fee and are available online at https://tinyurl.com/uzfnm82. All seats are reserved for meal planning purposes. Those who do not have access to the internet may call 800-838-3006 to order tickets. People choose their seats when they order their tickets.
Social hour begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m.
“This is an incredible way to start your Christmas season,” Brian Stubbs, director of the BHS choirs, said. “It’s full of energy. It has its tender moments, humor and of course, it has music.
“We work really hard on this dinner and I like to remind the kids that people pay $35 to be here and we want to make sure it’s a great show for them. The kids want to impress all the people who come and this dinner is a way the kids can connect with the audience.”
Stubbs said some people say $35 is too much for this high school fundraising event. He disagrees. He said for $35 people get a full, four-course dinner, plus entertainment for nearly three hours. People will spend $35 easily for just dinner or just entertainment, and with the Madrigal Dinner they get both for a low price.
All proceeds from the event support the choir program. This year the choir is raising funds for its 2020 spring break trip to Puerto Rico and for its trip to perform in the Minnesota Music Educators Association convention Feb. 14, 2020, in Brooklyn Park.
“We were asked to perform in the MMEA convention, which is a big feather in our caps to be asked to do this,” Stubbs said. “We’ll need buses to go down there and after the big performance it will be late afternoon, so we’ll all go for dinner, as all these kids gave up their Valentine’s for this.”
The Madrigal Dinner
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Renaissance-themed Christmas dinner. The choir program looks forward to the dinner each year, and the students are busy putting the music together and learning their lines for the skit.
The event is divided into four parts: Welcoming guests and social time in the Legacy Lodge; a four-course dinner served in the main hall; entertainment by the court jester and actors; and the concert of carols as the choir of 63 students surrounds the audience. The students are in costumes from the peasants to the king and queen, as they welcome guests, serve the meal and ultimately sing Christmas carols for them -- creating memories for the guests.
Every year the script is different, so no show will ever be the same. All the scripts revolve around finishing a meal, the king calling in entertainment, the jester being the center of attention and a concert.
Stubbs provided the following description of this year’s dinner show titled: “Mertonsire, Lord of Misrule:” “The masque follows the dessert and is a spirited attempt to dissuade the king from downsizing the arts in general ... the half-act players in particular. After a look on the positive side of downsizing -- eight Commandments not 10; five deadly sins not seven -- his majesty’s half-act players are summoned. The king suggests they perform, ‘Snow White and the Four Dwarfs’ -- not the ‘Seven Dwarfs.’
“They use their nimble wits and agile tongues to do a zany version of ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ using four actors to play 25 roles … The actors form a queue and each actor takes a role as it is his or her turn, snatching props from the prop table and appearing in character on the center stage. When a character leaves the stage, the actor returns to the end of the queue ready to take his or her next role. It is all jolly great fun amid the chaos.”
One of the highlights at the dinner is the wassail toast
BHS senior Emily-Rose Severson is playing the jester for the second year in a row. The role will be more difficult this year as she also is in Windfall, meaning she will be playing double duty. She will have to be at the head table as a Windfall member, but as jester she also will be running around the lodge mingling and joking with audience members. Windfall members also have to learn four more songs than the A Cappella Choir members have to learn.
“Playing the jester is super fun,” Severson said. “I get to be social and run around and tell jokes and stuff and after desert I narrate the skit. The jester is the emcee of the night and so I will be telling the story while the half-act players act it out for the head table.
“I run around, talk to strangers and be obnoxious.”
Severson said she makes up some of her own jokes. One of her favorites from last year was: “Why did the banana got to the doctor? Because he wasn’t peeling very well,” she said with a laugh.
“It’s really bad, but that is the idea,” Severson said as all the jokes are “super dorky.”
Seniors Peyton McConkey and Jeremiah Jackson, both Windfall members, will be dressed for the royal court and sit at the head table at the event. They said at this time Stubbs has not assigned specific titles for the students. However, they have been busy learning their lines for the skit and practicing their accents.
“I’m not nervous,” McConkey said. “I really think I should be nervous. When I get there I will be nervous. Right now I am very excited. It’s just so much fun for us to be there, especially now being in Windfall because we get to put on this fancy stuff. … I was a server last year and it was so much fun conversing with people. There was this guy I was conversing with who said he had 10 toes and I was like I have three toes, and was like this is so amazing. We were joking, of course, but it was really fun to talk to the audience.”
Jackson also is excited for the dinner.
“It’s really festive and it’s a fun night out with your family and friends,” Jackson said. “Some people are really intense with their accents, we have a lot of fun.”