Few things are as delightful as observing and being served by otherwise rowdy teens dressed in period costumes. Behind the facade, they became Londoners with correct accents for their stations in life while maintaining the humor and free spirit of their age.
An aristocratic host and hostess had their counterparts announced as they took their places at the head table. Serving wenches were polite as they offered water, a bowl and towel for cleansing the hands before the meal began. Then the food and the fun commenced.
Patrons who had entered the hall as strangers became fast friends as they worked to decode the proper way to eat the sumptuous meal and gave up their present identities to revel in amusements of the past.
Former choir members who had assisted with the Lover's Feast in the past, including a mother and son, were invited to the Host's table to perform the vocal treat, "Pastime with Good Company," complete with harmonies. Another highlight of the evening was the delivery of a larger-than-life pie to the host table, that when cut, released 24 mechanical blackbirds to fly around the hall. Country dances and the Egg Dance completed the program.
The $20 per plate gala is a much anticipated fund-raiser for the choir, and several patrons have attended annually. The meal alone is worth the price.
The rich textures and jewel tones of the costumes, along with the movement and rhythm of the dances, complemented the magical sounds of intricate, complex lyric harmonies. Players were so well rehearsed in all their duties, they needed little cueing from Jarman.