Annual Renaissance-themed event returns

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News

The 28th annual “Chamberlain’s Feast” will look a little different this year, as the event is now planned to be “The Chamberlain’s Dessert”.  Montevideo School Music Department instructor Dan Hampton says the change is to help the event be less cost-prohibitive. “We were finding that it was way too much food for people and that the price was getting to be a little prohibitive for people. We want families to feel like they can come and see their children perform without having to pay for a full five-course meal. Hopefully, this will encourage people to attend.” 

A photo from a previous year's Chamberlain's Feast depicts the style of costume worn by the Madrigal singers and instrumentalists for the event.

The Chamberlain’s Dessert will feature the Montevideo School Madrigal Singers, an 18 student group. There will also be selected high school instrumentalists performing in the Renaissance-themed event. “We have sort of a dialogue that goes on with our main characters,” says Hampton. “The chamberlain and their cohort, the chancellor, are the hosts of the evening.” The Madrigal singers, an extracurricular choir group that meets two mornings a week, not only sing but perform from a script.  “They dress up in Renaissance costumes and we try to make it a little bit like the Renaissance might be with some fun entertainment things,” says Hampton. The usual five-course feast will be replaced with the traditional dessert cake that is called a plum pudding for the sake of the Renaissance theme, but is what Hampton describes as a holiday cake, along with a spiced apple cider drink, called Wassail. 

The music is performed in conjunction with theatrical mini-dramas that are spoofs on stories from popular culture, written by Hampton. “These characters act these things out and it’s all in rhyme. They’re kind of fun and I think people always enjoy that. We have a jester and magic tricks. It’s just a nice way for us to feature the Madrigal group,” Hampton says.  Hampton began the traditional event 28 years ago. “When I was in high school, we did a similar kind of format for our Madrigal ensemble. They had a fun script that they used and I kind of took it on and added a lot. It’s the most labor-intensive thing for me, but it’s one of the things people really look forward to, so I’ll keep doing it for as long as my creative juices hold out.”

The Chamberlain’s Dessert will be held on Sunday, December 12th at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Trinity Lutheran Church. Tickets are not sold at the door, as there is a need to have a headcount prior to the night of The Chamberlain’s Dessert. Interested persons can purchase tickets by contacting Hampton at the School, (320) 269-6446 ext 1131.