FREDONIA - The State University at Fredonia School of Music will present its inaugural Madrigal Feaste on Friday, Dec. 7, with food, costumed performers and music.
The dinner theater performance will be in the Williams Center. The festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with an open bar, and the seated dinner and music program will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are $65 a person and are available at the Ticket Office by calling 673-3501 or visiting www.fredonia.edu/tickets.
"We are excited about offering the Feaste this year, and we hope it will become a new Fredonia tradition," said Dr. Karl Boelter, School of Music director. "This is no ordinary dinner. Full of pageantry, lots of sublimely performed music, entertaining personalities, and a large share of fun, the evening will be memorable and will put you in a great holiday mood."
The State University at Fredonia School of Music presents the first annual Madrigal Feaste on Dec. 7, with food, costumed performers, rousing music and merriment on a grand scale.
The collaborative event features talented faculty and students from the School of Music and the Department of Theatre and Dance. The Fredonia College Choir is the featured choral ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Gerald T. Gray, who had the vision for bringing this historical dinner theater tradition to Fredonia.
"As a high school student," Gray said, "I had the joy and privilege of performing in a Madrigal Feaste in my hometown, and it was a true highlight of the year. There was something magical about the festive music, beautiful costumes, grand banquet dinner all coming together to create something unforgettable. That is what we would like to bring to Fredonia. It is a magnificent way to begin the holiday season, and we hope the community will come out and join us for this unique and memorable event."
Dr. James Ivey, Fredonia theater and dance professor, will lead a troupe of actors for the event, and will also be featured in the role of master of revels.
"Gerald [Gray] approached me about collaborating on the Madrigal Feaste when I told him that I had directed such events in the early part of my academic career," Ivey said. "I said that I would be willing to help with the 'dramatic' portion of the evening, as I teach a class in the form of commedia dell'arte, early opera, and their scenic designs. Five of my students from the class will be extending their classroom experience into the Madrigal Feaste. I will be playing the Master of Revels, borrowing from my own bag of tricks as the Capitano character from commedia, which lends itself to the Madrigal form quite well."
A particularly special highlight of the evening will be Charles and Shirley Erbsmehl featured in the roles of King and Queen.
"It is a joy to have Chuck and Shirley Erbsmehl as our King and Queen," Boelter said. "They are great citizens of Fredonia, and avid supporters of the School of Music. Whether helping us to meet our scholarship goals or playing in the New Horizons Band, these are two people who love to participate. We are honored that they will be our first ever official royalty!"
The Erbsmehls will don period attire and join the rest of the performers at the royal banquet table on a central stage, while audience members dine and enjoy strolling singers and various chamber ensembles throughout the evening. Each course of the feast will be heralded with a traditional song. Audience participation is encouraged.
The meal begins with Pate Terrine, Winter Sausage, Aged Cheese and Crusty Bread, followed by a fanfare heralding the traditional holiday Wassail beverage. A peasant-style soup made with russet potatoes and deep green kale will be served next, followed by an entree of choice. Choose from the Beef and Stout Pie, featuring slow, beer-simmered beef accented with black currant jam, or slow-roasted Cornish Game Hens with fresh herbs, lemon and butter finished with natural jus. A vegetarian option is also available; the Vegetables Wellington Redux features fresh vegetables and rich goat cheese baked in a puff pastry wrapping and finished with tomato sauce. The meal is accompanied by wine and beer service, traditional root vegetables and a wild rice blend. A dessert of Buche de Noel served with hot coffee and tea is served during the final concert of choral music.
Tickets are $65 a person.
For more information, visit fredonia.edu/music/madrigal or call 673-3151.