WHS Madrigal Dinner sure to entertainJester, king, fair maidens and plenty of holiday music
WORTHINGTON — Pining for a festive, musical, merry, medieval-themed outing, complete with a delicious repast and packed with good humor? Worthington High School (WHS) choral director Kerry Johnson has just the ticket.
By: Jane Turpin Moore, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Pining for a festive, musical, merry, medieval-themed outing, complete with a delicious repast and packed with good humor?
Worthington High School (WHS) choral director Kerry Johnson has just the ticket.
“Our third annual madrigal dinner is a great way to get yourself in the holiday spirit,” Johnson said of the event, which has two performances: 7 p.m. on Dec. 18 and 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 19.
“If you need to laugh, it will happen here,” Johnson added. “This would be a perfect way to treat a friend or neighbor to a good meal and great entertainment and see some of what our performing arts students have been up to.”
Indeed, the past few months have been fast-paced for WHS performing arts students, many of whom participated in marching band competitions, the musical “Annie,” school-sponsored concerts and music festivals or the Worthington Area Orchestra — or in some cases, all of the above.
“We have some really versatile kids, and our students always work hard at everything they do and hold themselves to a very high standard, which is fantastic,” Johnson said. “This will be another strong, very fun performance.”
The roughly 60 WHS students who comprise the school’s auditioned choral ensembles — Bel Canto, Vox and Trojan Express — form the core of the madrigal troupe, though they will be aided this year by a brass ensemble and the WHS orchestra, as well as other volunteer choir members who will assist with food service.
“A lot of dedication is involved in making the madrigal dinner happen,” Johnson said, noting the singers have attended 7 a.m. practices once, and in some cases twice, a week since September.
An entertaining, fun time for the audience is the name of the game at the madrigal dinner.
“Brandon Berger, a senior recently seen as Daddy Warbucks in ‘Annie,’ returns as the court jester for a third year,” Johnson said. “He’s really good at relating to an audience and bringing a role to life.”
Berger’s sidekick is freshman Alex Purdy as Mertonsire, and in the scripted comedy scenario humorously titled “Jester, the Body Ventures Forth,” the two of them are the only eligible bachelors in the kingdom of Jibber. Each of them wants to marry the fair Olivia (junior Claire Bents), daughter of the jibberish-speaking Good King Wence (sophomore Caleb Dirksen), but his less desirable daughter Gorgonzola.com (senior Brooke Luing) must first be wed.
“It’s pretty hilarious, and the two bachelors fight a duel with French baguettes, the kingdom’s national weapon,” Johnson said.
“I like to see the audience being entertained,” confirmed Berger. “The jester role suits my personality — I’m the rambunctious, flamboyant type — so that works well for what I’m trying to portray.”
Purdy, as Mertonsire, is in his first-ever dramatic role but says he is relishing the freedom of “being” someone else.
“I think I sound stupid,” lamented Purdy, but Berger jokingly said, “That’s part of your character.”
Other key characters in the comic scenario are senior Sean Benz as the town crier, senior Mitchell Huisman as King of the Royal Court, and sophomore Andrew Fornoff as the Trumpet Mute.
A full complement of polished musical numbers is also part of the package, including “Masters in This Hall,” “Midwinter,” holiday favorites “Carol of the Bells” and “Fum, Fum, Fum” and a beautiful arrangement of “Ave Maria” by Bel Canto, the women’s choir.
Attendees will be served a chicken or roast beef dinner (patron’s choice), complete with salad, dessert and a cider wassail toast.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the WHS choral program.
With so many students set to sing, play and entertain, Berger and his peers are hoping a crowd of community members will turn out to enjoy themselves.
“It’s a great way during the holiday season to escape the realities of every-day life,” Berger said, “and if for just one night we can help you forget your troubles, we’ll have done our job as performers and accomplished something good.”
The WHS madrigal dinners are at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, in the WHS cafeteria. Tickets may be reserved through Dec. 15; for reservations, call 376-6121, ext. 3310.