Students shine in annual madrigal performance
A wardrobe malfunction in dress rehearsal turned into a script addition for this year’s Madrigal Feaste.
Wes Williams was playing the part of Mercutio in a light-hearted, modern-day conservatives vs. liberals version of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Williams had the line of “down with big government,” but instead of a large bureaucracy falling, his pants dropped at that precise moment.
The blooper elicited a hearty roar of laughter at the rehearsal, but it turns out that wasn’t the end of the slapstick comedy. Williams said he thought more about the mishap and chatted with “Jester” Marcus Titterington and others in the skit about incorporating the pants drop into the play. It was decided Titterington would say “and down with your pants” after Williams’ line of “down with big government.”
Williams said the alteration went over well with the audiences at Friday and Saturday’s performances at the Tonganoxie Middle School commons area.
“They all loved it,” Williams said. “I think it caught them off-guard. Something as formal as that, as goofy as that was, it was unexpected. But when they saw it happen, they all ate it up.”
Another short play, called “Peasants on Parade,” was a take on the classic game show “The Dating Game.”
The weekend performances marked the 10th annual Madrigal Feaste, as roughly 100 THS students came together to assume roles and duties for the feaste. There also was a parade of banners that paid tribute to each of the madrigal feastes. Alumni from each year walked behind the banners during a processional.
Titterington, playing the part of the Jester, stopped each banner group during its processional to “interview” the alumni. Director Tom Gifford said the banners might become a new tradition for the feaste.
Organizer Carolyn Day created the banners, just one more in a long list of contributions she has made to the annual event.
“She is the 365-24-7 lady when it comes to the madrigal dinner,” Gifford said, noting that Day is looking year-round at yard sales and thrift stores for items to be used at the dinner.
The dinner attracted about 200 guests each night and, though final totals are still to be determined, Gifford said the event usually raises about $2,500 for the vocal departments at the middle and high schools.
“It’s a neat way to raise funds,” Gifford said, “putting talents on display and working really hard for fundraising money.”
Funds go toward items such as an MP3 recorder, extra sheet music that budgets won’t cover, other equipment and a travel fund for a vocal trip the high school takes every three years.
The vocal departments wrap up their fall concert in the middle of October. That doesn’t allow a great deal of time to rehearse the many songs and scripts for the Madrigal Feaste, which always takes place the first weekend of December.
In addition to all the members of the royal court, the eighth-grade choir and high school concert choir perform and serve food at the dinner.
“They worked their tails off bussing tables,” Gifford said. “At end of night they were part of a concert as well.”
Taylor Clark, who was queen on Friday night, has been a part of several madrigal feastes. This was her fifth and final feaste in which she performed. She also attended two of the dinners when she was younger.
Clark’s king was Aaron McIntyre, while Beth Jobst was queen and Nathan Dowell king on Saturday night. The split royalty was a first for the Madrigal Feaste, something for which Clark lobbied to Gifford.
“I have always been a choral music nerd,” Clark said. “I always wanted to be the queen, as nerdy as that might sound. I also wanted to convince Mr. Gifford to split being queens.
“I’m really good friends with Beth Jobst, the other queen.”
The senior also has been involved in musicals and plays at THS and noted the Madrigal Feaste is a different environment.
“It’s not as stressful as the play,” Clark said. “You get to interact with the audience, and you don’t get stage fright because it’s more personal.”
On the flip side, there’s less time to read lines, so rehearsals are more intense for the feaste, she said.
Clark, who plans to minor in psychology at Kansas University and then pursue a degree as a child life specialist, said she anticipates trying out for a KU choir.
Though she plans to continue crooning in college, the weekend marked the final time the senior will perform in the Madrigal Feaste.
“It’s a lot of fun, but at the same time, it’s a lot of work,” Clark said. “You look forward to it and as soon as you get there, it’s gone.”
Clarks said the finality of her Madrigal Feaste career sunk in during the singing of “Silent Night” toward the end of the dinner.
She plans to return as a spectator in the future, though, especially because younger brother Ben Clark was in the feaste this year as a freshman.
This was Williams’ second year in the feaste. Like Clark, he said it was bittersweet not being able to perform with this group of fellow vocalists. Williams plans to continue his musical ways at Kansas State University in the marching band. He also plans to major in microbiology and minor in theater.
Though it’s his final feaste, he knows the feaste is in good hands.
“Just the fact that Carolyn Day has been putting this on for last 10 years, and she does a fantastic job of finding different things throughout the year to put toward these two days of performance,” Williams said. “Mr. Gifford, honestly, is the best choir teacher I’ve met in the way he teaches and reaches so many kids and makes choir so great to be a part of it.”
The Royal Court
King Aaron McIntyre and Queen Taylor Clark (Friday night), King Nathan Dowell and Queen Beth Jobst (Saturday night), Prince Daniel Monahan, Jester Marcus Titterington, Princess Bobbi Lindsay, Prince Dominic Pitts, Princess Rachel Sparks, Grand Duke Matthew Briggs, Grand Duchess Victoria Stiles, Grand Duke Michael Christensen, Grand Duchess Hanna Swedo, Grand Duke Brady Field, Grand Duke Wes Williams, Duchess Jessica Sommers , Duke Jonathan Duvall, Duchess Christopher Tiner, Duchess Jody Baragary , Duchess Dena Espeland, Duchess Alysia Gonzales, Margravine Mallory Harrell, Margravine Jo Kissinger, Margravine Allie Packard, Margravine Amy Wilkins, Count Jacob Casselman, Countess Madison Derry, Count Tyler Wehmeyer, Countess Kate Ebbert, Viscountess Halston Field, Viscountess Haley Griffin, Viscountess Kelsey Lawrence, Viscountess Madelyn Lewis, Viscountess Bonnie Monahan, Baron Jackson Bartlett, Baroness Meagan Behm, Baronet Ben Clark, Baronetess Kourtni Freemyer, Sir Lelynd Davis, Sir Mathew Davis, Dame Haley Starcher, Sir Joshua Hunter, Sir Justyn Leslie, Sir Hayden Sigourney, Sir Jared Sommers, Sir Nathan Tuter and Sir Colten Weaver.
Servers of the Feaste
Autumn Bellinger, Brooke Lindsay, Nikki Robbins, Alyssa Crenshaw, Jessica Martin, Amanda Rudd, Brittany Dussault, Erin Meador, Sara Scott, Bailey Gordon, Rachel Milbourn , Madison Simmons,
Callie Grinter, Stephanie Miller, Audrey Snodgrass,
Chelsie Hallgrimson, Ashley Newill,, Jennifer Stinson,
Lauren Harrell , Erin Newill, Jordan Tannehill, Jeannine Hartsock, Maggie Parsons, Jessa Thorne, Saryn Hernandez, Paige Peel, Mariana Vasquez, Jocelyn Jones, Mackenzi Rachford, Erin Wesselmann, Katie Kelsey, Grace Reilly, Savannah Yadon, Haley Knipp and Kelly Ringstrom.
Marcus Barnes, Austin Ettinger, Marcus Miller, Brooke Bolon, Cameron Folsom, Kelsey Panick, Krissy Brown, Tommy Ford, Cheyenne Rupard, Christina Combs, Taya Freeman, Jaime Stanwix, Jack Dale, Kaitlin Hall, Aneth Torres, Katrina Defeo, Andrew Gomel , Sophia Wetta, Amber Draper , Danni Johnson and Ashlee Yadon.
Royal Pages — Marcus Barnes and Austin Ettinger.
Rose Sellers — Brooke Bolon and Kaitlin Hall.
Hand Drum — Jennifer Stinson
English Handbells — Tonganoxie United Methodist Church, Natalie Frese, director
Director Tom Gifford,
organizer and accompanist Carolyn Day, royal costumers Berit Casselman, Anna Frost, Carolyn Day, Kate Ebbert, Chris Grinter, Dawn Sommers and Eileen Young.
Royal scribes Aaron and Michelle McIntyre
Royal decorator Maria Bingham, Emma DeMaranville, Allison Williams
Royal Carpenter Sir Trey Falk
Turning the Dark Ages into Light, Steve Harrell.
Original Jester Royal Artist — Kirsten Baggett
James and Connie Torneden for 10 years of service
The First Masque:
5-Minute Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
Written by Jim & Jane Jeffries
This performance is presented through special arrangement with Jest Scripts.
Narrator: Bonnie Monahan
Mercutio: Wes Williams
Romeo: Michael Christensen
Tybalt: Matt Briggs
Juliet: Mallory Harrell
King/Fryer: Aaron McIntyre/Nathan Dowell
Lady Capulet: Taylor Clark/Beth Jobst
The Second Masque:
Peasants on Parade
Written by Thomas Quinn
Jester: Marcus Titterington
Catherine the Co-Host: Rachel Sparks
Ned The Tanner: Ben Clark
Maid No. 1: Madison Derry
Maid No. 2: Alysia Gonzales
Maid No. 3: Jody Baragary