Feaste plays on
Madrigal Feaste planned for new middle school building this year
Even though Tonganoxie vocal music teacher Joyce Steeby resigned last May, a tradition she began at THS remained.
The Madrigal Feaste, a holiday vocal music performance complete with a royal court and a dinner fit for a king, will continue.
Tom Gifford is Tonganoxie's new vocal music teacher at the high school and junior high. And he's no stranger to Renaissance-style madrigal feasts.
"I've performed in them," Gifford said. "I've never directed one, so this is new territory."
And it's a territory he plans to delve into with students who've participated in the dinner the last four years, with parents and other volunteers assisting.
This year's Madrigal Feaste will be held in a brand new location -- the soon-to-be completed middle school. The large commons area, adjacent to the school's kitchen, is plenty large to serve -- and entertain -- a crowd.
Once again the performance is set for two consecutive nights -- Dec. 8-9. And each evening the castle doors will open at 6 p.m.
This is not an event to hurry through.
There's a multi-course dinner that includes wassail and roast wild boar.
And through it all, there's music -- most performed by the students and a few numbers accomplished with audience participation.
Some of the songs this year will be similar to those in years past, and some will be new, Gifford said.
"And we'll still have a nice peaceful ending," he added.
Volunteers are welcome to help.
School accompanist Carolyn Day said behind-the-scenes workers are needed in all areas of the preparation and performance. Not all volunteers are connected with the school, she said, noting various community residents, as well as past performers and their parents, return each year to help.
Gifford said he's looking to build some a temporary stage and may be able to use carpentry help.
Other volunteer work includes altering the costumes, setting tables, washing the tablecloths between the two performance evenings and, of course, preparing the meal.