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MHS madrigal singers prepare for 40th annual dinner and concert

Posted: Thursday, Nov 15th, 2012

Dr. Karyl Carlson, Director of Choral Activities at Illinois State University where she conducts the Concert Choir and the Madrigal Singers, leads the Mendota High School madrigal singers during a workshop at the high school, Nov. 6. MHS has had this particular clinic with ISU staff since 1998. Many MHS madrigal singers have even made their way into the prestigious ISU ensemble. Illinois State University has the longest running collegiate history of madrigal dinners in the country. (Reporter photo by Jennifer Sommer)

MENDOTA - The MHS madrigal singers and cast are gearing up for the 40th annual madrigal dinner. Once again this festive celebration is being presented in the MHS auditorium complete with full-course meal, renaissance music, court jesters and wench, woodwind and brass choirs. The dinners will be held on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2:30 p.m.

Madrigal singing came to England from Italy in the late 16th century and was used as an informal type of private entertainment at castles and country homes of English nobility. Often the lords and ladies performed the music themselves. Naturally, during the twelve days of the Christmas season, there was much entertaining and singing of madrigals.

Madrigals are songs written for small groups in which several voice parts are skillfully combined so that each part is interesting and independent, both melodically and rhythmically. In addition to performing standard repertoire from the Renaissance Era, the singers will also present traditional and contemporary settings of well-known carols.

MHS choir students auditioned for this ensemble in August. Since then, they have spent numerous hours each week outside of the school day in rehearsals. The program include 23 pieces of music which must be committed to memory. Many of these pieces are collegiate-level difficulty and are extremely demanding upon vocal technique and intellect.

This year’s madrigal singers include Cassie Barr, Relaina Bodmer, Michaela DeLong, Lydia Hill, Patty McInnis, Autumn Schimmer, Jessica Summers, Amy Tallent, Savannah Wade, Bethany Wohrley, Connor Dullard, Peyton Gehm, Michael Happ, Drew Knottnerus, Eric Masini, Dell May, Brady Hughes, and Brandon Peterson. Jesters are Anna Aughenbaugh, Hope Christmann and Nathanael DeLong along with Lexi Wamhoff as the Wench.

Dinners will include wassail cup, roast beef, parsley potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry salad, bread pudding, relishes, mints, nuts, bread and beverage. All tickets are $14 and may be purchased at Sports N Stuff in downtown Mendota. All seats are reserved. There is limited seating for each performance, so hurry and get your tickets now!

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