Cathy Turgeon (left) of Riverview participates in a magic trick conducted by Russ Kennedy as Merlin the Magician at Ye Olde Wassail Feaste.
By Evelyn Cairns
Members of the Downriver Council for the Arts invited guests to take a step back in time Dec. 3 for an evening of medieval merriment, Ye Olde Wassail Feaste, at the DCA headquarters in the Wyandotte Arts Center.
James Skura of Southgate and Norma Wurmlinger, former mayor of Southgate, presided as king and queen of the feast, dressed in regal costumes, of course.
The upper level of the center was transformed into a medieval inn for the occasion with decorations including banners, flags, crests, knights’ armor and replicas of castles.
The Innkeeper’s Wife welcomed each guest, who was then introduced to the gathering by the Town Crier.
Tables were draped with red burlap and centered with poinsettias for a five-course meal that began with a souvenir goblet of wassail (cider perfumed with spices and citrus), a beverage used as a toast to good health in the medieval times.
Guest Kay Batsakes of Lincoln Park, a student of mythology, said she traced the origin of wassail to the Egyptian myth of Osiris (known as Dionysus in Greek mythology).
Wassail is a corruption of his name, which also means king, she said, adding that this is the time of year when his death and rebirth were celebrated.
The evening continued with the serving of Hearty Vegetable Soup in a Bread Bowl, Cornish Hen with Wild Rice, Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding, and Plum Crumb.
The meal was served by costumed Wyandotte Roosevelt High School students under the direction of Royal Chef Randy Hall (owner of Destiny Catering and Concessions), who was knighted during the program.
Each course was heralded with fanfare by a brass quartet, and entertainment was provided by the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Michigan, a chorus of eight a cappella singers who sang madrigals and Christmas songs, Merlin the Magician and a juggler.
Joan Brophy, chairman of the event, was assisted by Paula Boase, Phillipa Matakas, Karen Ranka, Karen Wilson Smithbauer, Faye Tabor and Evelyn Cairns.
Auditions set for Idol event
Auditions have been set for Jan. 7 though 9 by the Southern Great Lakes Symphony for prospective contestants in the SGLS Downriver Idol contest.
The dates, times and locations are as follows:
• Jan. 7 — 7 to 9 p.m., Woodhaven Best Western, 21700 West Road.
• Jan. 8 — 2 to 4 p.m., Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church, 7925 Horsemill.
• Jan. 9 — 2 to 4 p.m., Allen Park Presbyterian Church, 7101 Park.
Additional information and registration forms are available by going to www.sgls.org.
Semifinals are slated for Jan 28. Finalists will compete for the Downriver Idol title at a Feb. 27 con-cert of the SGLS.
Auto preview to aid charities
Nine organizations will benefit from the 2011 North American International Auto Show Charity Preview, slated for 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 14 at Cobo Center.
The black-tie gala, one of the top one-night fundraisers in the United States, raised approximately $2 million for children’s charities at last year’s event, and more than $82 million since 1976.
Among the organizations benefiting from the gala will be the March of Dimes, The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, The Children’s Center, Judson Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan and the Detroit Auto Dealers’ Association Foundation Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan.
Gala tickets, $250 ($240 is tax-deductible), are available by calling (888) 838-7500 or going to www.naias.com.
The auto show will open to the public on Jan. 15 and continue through Jan. 23 with some 500 vehicles on display.
Tickets are $12; seniors and children 7 through 12, $6; children under 6 are free when accompanied by an adult. Hours are 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Jan.15 though 22, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 23.)
Coming up . . .
Dec. 22 — Opening of a gallery devoted to the arts of the Ancient Middle East and showcasing countries known today as Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Yemen and Armenia; museum admission is $8, adults; $6, seniors; and $4, those 6 though 17.