WILLARD Wassail! Wassail!
The expression will become as familiar to you as "Merry Christmas" this holiday season. That is, if you attend the sixth annual Christmas Madrigal Feaste at the Willard Castle, er, High School next month.
The traditional Renaissance feast is set in a castle and features court jesters, royalty, a boar's head and more. The event is set for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 at Willard High School. Tickets are $16 each.
A group of about 65 students clad in Renaissance attire will greet, serve, entertain and bless you with the Anglo Saxon drinking pledge: "Wassail," which means "Be in Good Health."
Madrigal dinners are Renaissance-day Christmas feasts the king and queen would throw for lords, ladies and kingdom members.
Some aspects of the show might be unfamiliar to you, such as the Boar's Head procession. During the Renaissance, servants would kill a boar for the king.
"They want to show the king that they have met his orders," Willard High School choir director Mandy Frankart said.
Other parts of the evening might be more familiar to you, such as the singing of traditional Christmas carols.
"Please join us in singing. You will recognize all the carols," the evening's program promises.
For your further enjoyment/enrichment, the students will present a play titled "The Changing of the Guard or the Guarding of the Change."
The play centers on a girl named Wanda who is in trouble with the sheriff. He comes to arrest her but the townspeople save her.
There wouldn't be a feast without food. The menu includes chicken breast or prime rib, baked potatoes, rolls and butter and flaming pudding.
Frankart said she originally came up with the idea for the feast.
"I was looking for something new for the kids," she said. "After we did our first one they loved it, and here we are in our sixth year."
The event hasn't only won over students; Willard residents who may not have any affiliation with the school are usually the first to buy tickets, Frankart said.
The room can seat 200 people each night. Frankart said last year was sold out, and the years before that came close.
"It's a great time for family and friends to get together," Frankart said. "Now I think it's a Willard tradition."
Like many students, Willard High School junior Lindsay Bogner has participated in the madrigal feast since her freshman year. This year, as choir present, she oversees the various student committees that work to make the event a reality.
"It's a fun experience and I couldn't ask for more," Bogner said. "I think honestly it's a crowd favorite." IF YOU GO
WHAT: The sixth annual Christmas Madrigal Feaste
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9
WHERE: Willard High School commons area
HOW MUCH: Tickets are $16 each. To order, call the high school at (419) 935-0181.