GODFREY — Hear ye! Hear ye! Good noblewomen and knights!
Step back into the days of medieval Europe when the Great Rivers Choral Society presents its annual madrigal dinner and play at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Godfrey Knights of Columbus Hall.
“Captain Who — A Pirate’s Tale” is about “a hapless group of pirates who try to take over the castle with comic results,” said Ron Abraham, the choir’s director.
The king and his men are off to war when the castle is invaded by Captain Kidd, an unknown pirate. Kidd is accompanied by a crew of colorful characters, including Stacy (who’s a bit sensitive about his name), Bob (who doesn’t appreciate the jester’s sense of humor) and Briggs, the ship’s cook (although she prefers to be called “nutritionist.”) The pirates get a few surprises of their own through the queen’s quick thinking and her noblewomen’s talents.
The play is staged in two parts, with the first presented before dinner. Orchestral music accompanies dinner, which is followed by madrigal music and the second half of the play. Most of the music is madrigals, choir pieces that are lighthearted and comic or romantic in nature. Abraham said the choir walks among the audience, so there is “an element of audience participation.”
FEMA Catering of Benld is providing the buffet dinner. The Choral Society found realism didn’t work well when it came to the food.
“We tried an authentic Renaissance dinner the first year but it didn’t go over real well,” Abraham said. “People told us they were happy with a catered buffet.”
The Great Rivers Choral Society is about 13 years old and is made up of amateur singers from Collinsville, Edwardsville and St. Louis, besides the Alton and Godfrey area.
This is Abraham’s fourth year as the choir’s director. A retired SIUE music professor, Abraham joined the choir about 10 years ago at the suggestion of friends.
“I love being the director; it’s a great hobby and this is a great group,” he said. “It’s a challenge as the director because no one is a professional singer. They’re amateurs in the best sense of the word because they do it for the love of it.”
The madrigal dinner and play fundraiser is in its third year and accounts for a quarter of the choir’s overall budget. It’s one of four programs the group puts on each year. The other performances are concerts at Christmas and in the spring and fall.
The fundraiser will be at the Godfrey Knights of Columbus Hall, 1713 Stamper Lane, Godfrey. Ticket sales ended Feb. 10 but some seats may still be available. For inquiries, call (618) 401-1450 or (618) 917-0042.