Wayne State Madrigals Continue 46 Year Holiday Tradition

WAYNE – For the last 46 years, around the holiday season, the public has been invited to travel through time and experience an Elizabethan feast with Wayne State College’s Madrigal Singers. On December 2nd and 3rd, the group hosted their annual dinner, where those in attendance experienced good food, a fun holiday play and beautiful music.

Dressed in period clothing from ruffled collars to corsets, the Madrigals embrace the Renaissance era for several performances. The group starts the year at a Renaissance festival in Sioux City before hosting two Madrigal Dinners at the college in December. The holiday shows are not the end for them either, according to Madrigal, Olivia Nottlemann.

“After we finish our weekend of dinners, we will sing in the president’s Holiday Gala on Sunday the 10th at 2 (p.m.) and we’ll sing some of our selections there and then for this semester, that’s it,” Nottlemann said. “In the spring semester we go more towards the modern music, so we’ll still sing some Renaissance selections, but we also work in things like vocal jazz, showtunes, kind of a little bit of everything.”

The holiday feast is a stand-out performance for the group, however. The performance is a long time in the making. The group got to work in August and by September, they were already working on the play that would feature at this year’s holiday feast. Roughly 20 students helped with production, which included set decoration, costumes, and of course, singing and playing. Emily Popelka said a big challenge the group faced, was making sure rehearsals fit into everyone’s already full schedules.

We’re all involved in music, but that doesn’t mean music major or minor, so there’s a lot of different things that people have to get squared away,” Popelka said. “There are people who have other jobs, people who are RA’s in our group, so it’s a lot of time commitment and we obviously all love being in here because it’s very difficult to get everything done, so if we didn’t enjoy being here, we wouldn’t be here.”

Renaissance music can be very challenging to sing, and require lots of hard work, but several members of the Madrigal choir said the challenge led to sharpen their skills.

“It’s intense, but there’s something about that that really brings us together in this group that I just haven’t experienced anywhere else, it’s a really good bonding and you have to trust yourself and it really makes you a better musician,” Nottlemann said.

After 46 years, the Madrigal Dinners really have become a tradition at Wayne State, and one that highlights the dedication and skills of the students.

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