It's not too early to RSVP to your invitation from the Lord of the Manor to this year's Minot Chamber Chorale Renaissance Festival, running Dec. 3-5 at the Holiday Inn Coliseum, with a social at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
"Lord Eric (Furuseth) and Lady Pam (Hopkins) wish to invite you to their home for the feast in honor of the season," said Bethany Andreasen, president of the Minot Chamber Chorale. "But Friday night is almost sold out already."
The director is still Robert Demke, the period costumes are still sumptuous, and the feast, catered by the Holiday Inn is still delicious, but after 36 years, the Chamber Chorale is tinkering with the format a bit.
Submitted Photo - - Eric Furuseth as Lord of the Manor, center left, welcomes revelers to the Minot Chamber Chorale’s Renaissance Feast in the Coliseum Room at the Holiday Inn-Riverside.
Submitted Photo - - Scenes from past Renaissance Feast events hosted by the Minot Chamber Chorale feature the Lord and Lady of the Manor, courtiers, servants and jesters in resplendent garb and finery.
"It was time to rethink the past, and try a different approach," Andreasen said. "This year the jesters Gene Curtiss and Ariel Files, who have been doing the parts for several years have names. Gene is Tarlton, and Ariel is Lucretia. We also have a totally new character, the household steward William, played by Alphonse Koenigsman. William is NOT enjoying the season. He doesn't have a lot of Christmas feeling."
Instead of multiple vignettes, the chorus is integrating one central story told over the course of the entire evening. Steve Files wrote the script, which revolves around the lord using the jesters to find out what Lady Pam wants for Christmas. It gets complicated because the lady wants to use the jesters for her own purposes.
"It's not the story, then the feast, then 20 minutes of singing," Andreasen said. "With this scenario, the chorus just bursts into song with the joy of singing. We think it will make for a better evening a little livelier.
"Of course we still have the traditional elements, like the boar's head, wassail bowl, toast and figgy pudding," she said. "We're hoping that people who've seen it many times will be pleased to see how it's changed."
"We still have the sing-along with the 'Twelve Days of Christmas,' and the jesters always are happy to plaster their smiles on your face," Andreasen added. "We also have the 'holiest' chorus in town, because we have six ministers in our ranks!"
The Minot Chamber Chorale is the only mixed voice choir in Minot, and is always seeking new members. And the Renaissance Feast is the largest production they do each year, as well as the only one for which they charge. The cost is $35 for adults, which includes either a prime rib, chicken cordon bleu or vegetarian dinner, and $20 for children, which includes a dinner of chicken strips. The Dec. 3 performance also has a $5 discount for the military.
Reservations, required, may be made by calling 838-8709 or 839-4622, along with meal request.