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Madrigal Singers Host Holiday Party, 15th-Century Style

December 20, 2012 09:50 AM
Hillside, IL...It was a night of lords and ladies, court jesters and royalty at the 38th annual Madrigal Singers Holiday Show on December 8 and 9 at Proviso West High School.
The show, according to Salina Watson, the Madrigal Singers sponsor, featured students from Proviso West High School and Proviso Math and Science Academy reenacting a 15th–century royal court. Performing in a dinner-theater atmosphere, with the cafeteria transformed into a castle, the students served dinner and performed Madrigal-style harmonies and traditional Christmas carols.

"We try to make it as formal as possible," Watson said. "The students dress up in the costume of the day and have a script. The dinner is part of a script. It’s kind of like ‘Medieval Times.’"
Watson said that the Madrigal Singers in medieval times were singers hired by royals such as the queen to entertain at court. At Proviso West and its neighboring district schools, it is a select group of student singers, picked through auditions and recommendations and often singing a cappella style.

The student singers were accompanied by a student brass ensemble, which helped to inject a "21st–century sense of humor" into the show. A court jester performed as student volunteers, dressed in costume, served as waiters during dinner.

District 209 has a long and rich tradition of outstanding Madrigal performances. Nearly 20 Madrigal Alumni who had attended Proviso East and Proviso West High between 1984 and 2011 were in attendance at this year’s performance, watching the students along with Alumni Daniel Salotti, a former Madrigal sponsor and choral director at Proviso East High School, who was the guest conductor for the December 9 show.


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