Archive for Wednesday, December 5, 2007

THS vocal department to present 6th annual Madrigal Feaste

December 5, 2007

Pianist Carolyn Day will be without a job Friday and Saturday at the sixth annual Madrigal Feaste, a production of the Tonganoxie High School vocal department.

After all, "madrigal" means "without accompaniment" in Old English.

"So I really don't have a job that night," Day said with a laugh.

In actuality, Day, an assistant to THS vocal instructor Tom Gifford, will remain busy during the two-night event.

Day has been a part of a Tonganoxie event that's become quite the tradition. This will be the sixth year the vocal department has played host to the Madrigal Feaste.

"It's a dinner party and concert all rolled into one," Day said. "It's actually our gift to the community. It's really a holiday event."

The event will be for the first time at the Tonganoxie Middle School commons area. Last year, it was set to be at the new middle school, but issues with the water tower being installed near the school forced a venue change, to the former junior high commons area.

This year, the new middle school and the water tower are fully functional, so the show will proceed forward at TMS, something Day is happy to see.

"This should be our permanent home now that we have our building," Day said.

The commons area includes columns along both sides of the wide-open room. For Day, that is a bonus when it comes to transforming a present-day space into a Renaissance Era "castle."

Like Day, Gifford is looking forward to the Madrigal Feaste's new home.

"We're very excited to be at the middle school," Gifford said. "We think that we'll have good sight lines there. "We'll be able to create a good atmosphere; banners and castle walls and stained glass and things like that in there."

In previous years, the Madrigal Feaste also has been at Tonganoxie United Methodist Church and Tonganoxie Christian Church.

On the menu

This year's menu includes a four-course meal, with items listed in Olde English: wasseyle coppes (spiced apple cider), potage (soup, more specifically, vegetable barley), farthingweight weate loafe (bread), rosta cured wilde boare (ham steak), streng bene eke almande (green beans with almonds), botata rosemarye (rosemary potatoes) and royal cherrye tarte (cherry tarts).

The castle doors open at 6 p.m., with wheelchair service available for guests. The first fanfare includes the procession of singers, while the second fanfare will be the wassail bowl. With the cider, several toasts are made.

"It's a big love festival there for a minute," Gifford said. "They toast this guy and toast this guy."

During the third fanfare, a boar's head is presented to the king, whom this year will be Chieftain Singer Justin Moss.

Day said the head, which is used every year, is affectionately known as Hairy. And, Day always places a real apple in its mouth each year.

The fourth fanfare includes the flaming dessert, which is just that, although the actual cherry tart desserts will not be served on fire.

The night concludes with the fifth fanfare, which is a concert.

Quite the cast

More than 60 high school and eighth-grade vocalists will be participating, whether it be as the Royal Court (Chieftain Singers), servers of the Feaste (high school concert choir) or the apprentice servers (eighth-grade singers).

Court musicians are trumpeters Caleb Wager and Doug Emerson, while recorders are Jackie Hewins, Michelle Milldyke. Guitarist Seth Bohanon also will perform.

Members of the Royal Court include King Moss, Queen Kayla Oelschlaeger, Princess Katy Kolman, Prince Drew Scates and Princess Lydia Thao.

Court entertainers, meanwhile, are Jester Christopher Jordan, Town Crier Elliott Brest, royal pages Isaac Jones and Alex White, rose sellers Christa Firuccia and Morgan Searcy and mistletoe maidens Niki Beggs and Rachel Wood.

Guests are encouraged to also dress in renaissance attire, but it is not required.

Memorial feaste

This year's Madrigal Feaste will be in memory of THS graduate and vocalist Amanda Bixby, who was 19 when she was killed in a three-vehicle accident on Valentine's Day earlier this year near Basehor.

THS graduates who participated in the Madigral Feaste in year's past traditionally come back for the event after they graduate. Day said that Amanda's parents, Dennis and Denise Bixby, would sit at the alumni table with those students.

In addition, a wooden nightstand with a marble top -- which Dennis originally had intended for Amanda to have when it was completed -- will be on display. Raffle tickets will be sold for the item.

Proceeds will go toward the Vocal and Instrumental Performers Club, a music department booster club at THS.

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