“Madrigal Dinner” or, having fun for charity -- I recommend it

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    Feb 15, 2009 4:32 PM GMT
    Attended a “Madrigal Dinner” this past Thursday, to help raise money for gifted music & theatre students at a special senior high program in Miami, Florida. The dinner tables & chairs were placed on a large theatre stage, where a Medieval castle set made the perfect backdrop. All the performers and servers were in late Medieval/early Renaissance costumes, and the entertainment from that era was continuous (actually they took some liberties, with selections that were Baroque as well).

    There were strolling minstrels playing lutes & guitars among the tables, jugglers, tumblers, and jesters telling jokes and doing funny routines. Also a string ensemble on one side of the stage, a brass trio on the other, and a 12-voice chorus, that sang mostly unaccompanied period polyphony in Dorian mode, very challenging for modern singers. Elaborate trumpet fanfares announced the arrival of important “personages” as well as each meal course.

    It was so much fun, and all done so these bright but mostly needy kids could continue their studies in college. And when it was over, and we were all leaving the stage, one of the violinists burst into an impromptu rendition of “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof. The other guys & girls began to rush back onstage, and suddenly they were all doing an unplanned number center stage, playing their instruments, singing & dancing with abandon in their costumes.

    Most of them had been in a Fiddler production a few weeks earlier, and to see them all just laughing & clapping, and hugging each other to celebrate their success that night, and frankly just being exuberant kids, was inspiring. Gawd, to be young again, and not fear being openly gay, as some of them obviously were.

    The next night, Friday, was a fundraiser performance by Alec Mapa. You may know him from roles on Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, and a ton of other TV & movie work. He does a 1-man stand-up act, very entertaining, very gay, and he had a packed house, what seemed like most of gay Fort Lauderdale.

    It raised money for Broward House, the principal HIV/AIDS non-profit agency in the Fort Lauderdale area. Afterwards we had a VIP reception at a gay club, where I also met Alec’s very charming husband, who flew in from California with him.

    The tip I’d share with all of you is to look for these kinds of charity events in your area. Although some are for the super-rich, many are quite reasonable, like these 2 were. You can have an incredibly good & guiltless time for very little, knowing that your money is going to wonderful causes, possibly even gay-associated, like with the Mapa show. In fact, I hardly go to an event these days that isn’t charity related, and I highly recommend them.
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    Feb 15, 2009 11:05 PM GMT
    Sounds very worthwhile. I like helping others - and this sounds like a great way to do so.

    (I had thought by your post title you were going to refer to Mrs. Madrigal from Tales of the City, by Army Maupin!)
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    Feb 16, 2009 2:22 AM GMT
    Jockbod48 saidSounds very worthwhile. I like helping others - and this sounds like a great way to do so.

    (I had thought by your post title you were going to refer to Mrs. Madrigal from Tales of the City, by Army Maupin!)

    Sorry to disappoint you! Not something by Armistead Maupin. But hopefully I can interest you & others in attending similar charity functions, that ideally benefit our gay community.