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BHS choir students ready to entertain audiences in Madrigal Dinner

A Renaissance-themed play titled "Handel and Gretzky--Tale of Two Kiddies" will be brought to life on a Brainerd stage where one student actor dresses the part to play both a father and a stepmother in the same costume dress, which is cut in half.

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Brainerd High School Windfall choir students Stefanie Maas (front row, left), Shannon Dinh, Sierra Edwards, Zoey Heitkotter (second row, left), Ben Wickman, Kaylea Peterson, Dale Walters, Anna Nichols (row three, left), Maren Pelowski, Michael Bauer (back left), Theo Knudson, Jacob Morgan and Jesse Roach play royalty in the seventh annual Christmas Madrigal Dinner scheduled Dec. 1-3 at Cragun’s Legacy Golf Course Clubhouse Pavilion on Highway 77 in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Jennifer Stockinger

A Renaissance-themed play titled "Handel and Gretzky-Tale of Two Kiddies" will be brought to life on a Brainerd stage where one student actor dresses the part to play both a father and a stepmother in the same costume dress, which is cut in half.

The live action-packed play-which includes a jester, a king and queen and their royalty and "Half Act Players"-- will entertain audiences in the seventh annual Christmas Madrigal Dinner to be presented by the Brainerd High School A Cappella and Windfall Choirs.

The Madrigal Dinner will be held over three nights in December.

The dinners will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 1-3 at Cragun's Legacy Golf Course Clubhouse Pavilion on Highway 77 in Brainerd. The clubhouse can seat 200 guests per night. Tickets are $35 and are available at the BHS main office or by calling 218-454-6200. All seats are reserved for meal planning purposes.

The proceeds earned from the dinner will pay for the scripts and costumes for the show, scholarships and will support upcoming trips and activities that the choir students attend.

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"We have enjoyed such tremendous support from the Brainerd community," Brian Stubbs, director of the BHS choirs, said. "We just keep growing. ... It's a fun time for us. Craguns has been a wonderful partner with us, donating the performing space and cooking a wonderful meal each year."

Stubbs said there are 70 students in the high school program, who will be dressed in medieval costumes, who have been practicing their "thees" and "thous" as the words will be part of their dialogue as they welcome guests back to a time of feasting and festival for the dinner.

The event is divided into four parts: welcoming guests and "Wassail" social in the Legacy Lodge; a four-course feast served in the main hall; entertainment by the court jester and cast; and the concert of familiar Christmas carols as the choir surrounds the audience.

This year's four-course menu includes a mixed green salad with cranberry and pear with poppy seed vinaigrette and mixed bread with the main entrée of pork loin with a fig, orange marmalade, maple walnut brussel sprouts, barley pilaf with dessert of bread pudding with a whiskey or caramel sauce.

Stubbs said every year the script is different, so no show will ever be the same. All the scripts revolve around a common format, but the entertainment and song selection is not repeated.

The choir students will perform familiar Christmas songs, including "Carol of the Drum," "In the Bleak Midwinter" and "Deck the Halls;" as well as "some fun homemade songs," Stubbs said.

BHS senior Zoey Heitkotter plays the jester in the play she said has a cat theme.

"This play is a lot of fun," she said. "I'm fairly honored to play the jester."

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Heitkotter said the students have been practicing songs and their lines for the past three weeks on the dinner play. They practice after school, during the school's "what I need" time or WIN for short and during their choir classes.

"We're very excited to put this on," Heitkotter said. "It's a lot of extra time but it is so worth it.

"I was in the Madrigal Dinner last year, too, but had a minor part, so it is cool to have a bigger role."

BHS senior Maren Pelowski is part of the royalty court.

"I was a peasant last year and this year I am super excited to be at the head table," said Pelowski. "I've been coming to these concerts/dinners since I was little and it's always been fun."

The senior also is in charge of costumes for 74 students. The senior said it took some time to organize and put everything together, but it has been fun. She said one costume which was difficult to complete was for BHS senior Adam Kleist, who plays the father and stepmother in the play. She said she had to cut the dress in half.

Pelowski said the costumes, which all had to be cleaned and some modified, has eventually come together with some work and they will be ready to go when they hit the stage.

This year's royalty court who will sit at the head table include all seniors: Heitkotter, Pelowski, Stefanie Maas, Shannon Dinh, Sierra Edwards, Ben Wickman, Kaylea Peterson, Dale Walters, Anna Nichols, Michael Bauer, Theo Knudson, Jacob Morgan and Jesse Roach.

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The cast of the "Half Act Players" are Elizabeth Ortmeier, a junior, who plays the wicked witch; and seniors Sam Dirks, who plays Mortonsire, Lord of Misrule; Heitkotter, the jester; Aly Neistadt, the narrator; and Kleist, the father and stepmother.

If You Go:

What: Seventh annual Christmas Madrigal Dinner.

Presented by: The Brainerd High School A Cappella and Windfall Choirs.

When: 6 p.m. Dec. 1-3.

Where: Cragun's Legacy Golf Course Clubhouse Pavilion on Highway 77 in Brainerd.

Tickets: $35 and are available at the BHS main office or by calling 218-454-6200. All seats are reserved for meal planning purposes.

Related Topics: BRAINERD HIGH SCHOOL
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