Local citizens hankering for song and dance to pair with supper but don’t want to travel to a galaxy far, far away are in luck. The Carroll County High School Madrigal Dinner is set to return Dec. 11-13.
CCHS Chorus Director Chandra Harmon said the theme for this year’s entertainment is “May The Farce Be With You.” She said the comedy promises an awesome mix of sci-fi in the holiday madrigal spirit for participants. Consider it a mix of Jason and the Golden Fleece a la George Lucas. The play includes a tap-dancing dragon, Halley’s Comet and plenty of audience participation peppered throughout. (Seventy student performers are involved in the shows.)
“The Knights of the Golden Fleece are going on a quest to stop the curse of Halley’s Comet,” said Harmon. “Audience participation is required and there’s a sing-along at the end of the show so we can teach the dragon to dance.”
Doors open for the evening performances at 6 p.m. with the curtain timed to go up at 6:30 p.m.. There’s also a Sunday matinee set on Dec. 13. Doors for this show open at 1:30 p.m. with the show starting at about 2 p.m. Squealers Barbecue of Galax is catering the affair. People may call (276) 733-3963 for tickets that can be picked up at the CCHS front desk. Harmon said arrangements can be made to get tickets to those who cannot come by the school.
The menu for the shows includes baked chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, rolls and a choice of three desserts. Beverage choices are tea, lemonade and water. The cost per person is $20 with 125 seats offered per show. This is the second year of the fundraiser. Portions of the proceeds go to defray costs of choir members singing at Carnegie Hall in New York City and for new choir uniforms.
“When I went to college (at Radford University) we did a madrigal dinner for a fundraiser with singing waiters,” Harmon said.
She said the dinner has become a cooperative event with building trades, band and horticulture students pitching in to help. Harmon said building trades has provided set pieces while the band’s brass and woodwind sections have stepped up to provide fanfares and a concert. The horticulture department provides table centerpieces and live greenery to add to the welcoming atmosphere. Students typically help run the kitchen and make sure service to participants flows smoothly and quickly.
“It’s become a chance for participants to really see what the arts, building trades and horticulture does in our schools,” Harmon said.
She said the response for last year’s program went so well they added the additional matinee and an evening show. The slots for the evening shows went quicker last year. She speculated this may be because patrons like the evening darkness contrast to the convivial holiday dining opportunity. Harmon said tickets sold fast last year.
“When we saw how fast they sold through last year it was validation (for the effort),” said Harmon. “We wanted different ways to get more kids involved in chorus. A part of chorus is kids teaching each other. It’s collaborative learning which is powerful.”
She said the success of the television show “Glee” has helped with participation in chorus and said rural areas nationally tend to struggle to provide opportunities for children. She points to the rising numbers involved and students from different groups in the school as proof the effort is going in the right direction.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.