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Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom hosts Madrigal Dinner

The minstrels, jokers, kings and queens of the Detroit Lakes High School music department host the madrigal dinner Monday and Thursday nights at the Historic Holmes Theatre ballroom.

"Wassail! Wassail!"

The cheerful holiday greeting rings throughout the Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom as a 36-member "Royal Court" makes its way to a series of long tables set up on the stage.

And so begins another Detroit Lakes High School Renaissance Madrigal Dinner. Held once every two years, the popular local holiday tradition encompasses a five-course meal as well as original skits and songs performed by more than 200 DLHS vocal and instrumental students.

After the seating for the meal has taken place -- beginning promptly at 6:15 p.m. -- beggars and singers will mingle amongst guests, offering their yuletide greetings in word and song.

After the royal processional at 7 p.m., members of the Royal Court will take their seats for the meal and ensuing entertainment.

At 36 members, this year's Royal Court -- comprised of members of the Laker Singers vocal ensemble -- is the biggest to date, said Kathryn Larson, vocal music director for DLHS.

Larson and assistant Mark Everson are once again organizing the holiday event, which takes place on Monday, Dec. 14, as well as Thursday, Dec. 17. Both dinners begin with seating at 6:15 p.m., followed by the processional at 7 p.m.

The Renaissance-style royal banquet will feature wassail, wild rice soup, "King Henry VII Salad" (the Renaissance version of Caesar salad), "Carved Joynt of Pork," potatoes, bread and vegetables "royale," with English cheesecake for dessert.

"The premise is, you eat, we entertain," Larson explained.

The evening's entertainment will begin with an original skit prepared by Everson and the students -- including quite a few humorous pop culture references that audiences will find familiar, Everson hinted.

There will also be a recorder ensemble including Detroit Lakes elementary music teachers; a brass ensemble of DLHS instrumental students, directed by Brian Kotila; and performances by the 9th grade choir, varsity choir and concert choir, as well as the aforementioned Laker Singers.

Music will be featured prominently in all aspects of the evening's entertainment -- up to and including the serving of the meal, Larson said.

"Each course will be announced in song," she explained.

The theme of the evening, Everson noted, will be "curing the huge entertainment deficit in the court" -- a reference to the current economic recession.

Besides Larson and Everson, there are several other people involved with the preparations for this year's production, including musical accompanists Paul Heisler and Susan Champa; caterers Duane Dunrud and Marge Kvilvang; costume designers Madalyn Sukke, Kari Williams and Michelle Norby; set designer Greg Mueller; sound coordinators Pat Voigt and Chris Carr; parent volunteer coordinator Kelly Erholtz; artistic designers Carol Nustad and Rachel Windloss; and many more.

The Royal Court, presided over by the King and Queen (Bryce Dutton and Ashley Morben), will include the following:

Ladies: Alexis Aafedt, Katelyn Caulfield, Cecelia Erholtz, Emma Erholtz, Veronica Foltz, Shannon Goetz, Justine Haukebo, Courtney Hedstrom, Erika Jenson, Libby Jordan, Rachel Lindemann, Kelsey Melgaard, Mariah Neuhauser, Melissa Paakh, Melody Peterson, Paige Raaf, Rachel Shane, Ashtin Spies and Allison Spurlin.

Lords: Stefan Boehm, Max Boyd, Josh Eggebraaten, Andrew Friesen, Jon Gilson, Steven Labine, Bryan Lee, Connor McLeod, Jon Melgaard, Cole Remmen, Sam Roth, Andrew Schupp, Charlie Smith and Tanner Yocom.

Court Jester: Andy Fondrick.

Tickets for both dinners are $28 apiece, and may be purchased at the Historic Holmes Theatre Box Office, 826 Summit Ave., or by calling 218-844-7469 (SHOW).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454