The Berkshires are known as a destination for quality orchestral and choral music, theater, and food. Tourists are even willing to pay Manhattan prices for such fare. We can feel confident that that cultural tradition can continue through the next generation. How do I know that? I was blown away by the instrumental music, choral works and acting performed by Wahconah Regional High School students at the recent Renaissance Feast, a Madrigal Dinner, 1493, held on Dec. 11 and 12 at the Dalton VFW.
The VFW was transformed into the dining hall of a medieval castle. Costumed lords, ladies, minstrels and other musicians, and a talented jester, Ryan Dufour, greeted and seated guests at tables and performed for them while guests ate a three course dinner. The idea was conceived by WRHS band director Brian Rabuse, who also directed the magnificent band and guitar ensemble. The choice of music was excellent. All the varied and quite entertaining vocal groups were directed by Central Berkshire Choral Director Ann-Marie Desautelle. The actors, from the school’s Apollonian Players, were well directed by Thom Towne and Pam Fortlage-Gold. The very clever play replete with puns, "Fools Fall in Love" was written and compiled by Paul Brandvik.
Some parents contributed enormous quantities of time and talent including Sharyl Tutela who made the four-color program. We can thank Billie Henderson and Meghan Gillespie for the artful costumes. Quite a few area businesses generously supported the endeavor. Some high schoolers served in multiple ways -- band member Grace Shears designed and made a unicorn head used in the play, and Cheyenne Reed designed a poster and clever tickets, and inhabited the unicorn costume. Grace Doble acted (wonderfully) as well as played in the band.
Just when I was feeling very comfortable in the year 1493, I remembered that the proceeds received by the band will be used to fund a spring trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. So "The Boar’s Head Carol," "Gloucester Wassail" and A Praetorius Prelude will fund Pink Floyd. I guess I belong in the 15th century. The Renaissance Feast was worthy of great acclaim. As the audience was instructed to shout in appreciation -- "Huzzah"!