Madrigals delights with food, music


Iris Wright, Staff Writer

Directors, actors, singers and musicians have been working hard to prepare for Plainfield Central’s 38th annual Madrigal Dinner.

“A lot of work has gone into preparing the Madrigal Dinners,” Choir Director Nathan Rancatore said. He has been preparing for Madrigals since May.

The Madrigal Dinners, taking place Friday, Dec. 16 and Saturday, Dec. 17, are holiday performances in which audience members enter a medieval world as they step onto the auditorium stage.

“It’s like you’re eating dinner in the middle of a musical,” senior Emilee Rowzee said.

Madrigals takes audience members back in time to the 16th century.

“Madrigals was a group of travelling singers during medieval ages into the renaissance,” Rancatore said,
“They learned the languages of all the places they travelled to.”

The Madrigal singers, who began their season the week before school began with five hour rehearsals, perform holiday music from a wide range of cultures.

“They’ve been practicing complex music of the era in Spanish, Italian, German, Latin and French,” Rancatore said.

The performances are a yearly tradition that teachers and students attend every year. With a new director, the show has been somewhat altered.

“We made it a lot more about music,” sophomore Maggie Dix, an actor in Madrigals, said. “It’s a lot more complex this year.”

“The song total, compared to years before, –we’re doubling it,” Rancatore said.

Besides the main Madrigal singers, there are also the Madrigal Ladies and the Madrigal Actors. The Madrigal Ladies, added this year to the performances, are the newest vocal ensemble.

“They showcase recognizable tunes,” Rancatore said.

The theatrical side of Madrigals shines through the Madrigal actors who portray characters to surround the audience with a story. All the performers strive to make the Madrigal Dinners the best they can be.

“We have some very strong senior leadership,” Rancatore said. “Even as a new director, I trust them to do the job they set out themselves to do.”

The Madrigal Dinners are centered on the vocal groups and theatrical storyline, but there are also several instrumental ensembles that add to the atmosphere. These groups include the Recorder Ensemble, the Brass Quintet, and the Herald Trumpets.

“I play short fanfares to signal entrances,” Rowzee, a musician in the Herald Trumpets, said. “The three of us get together a couple times before the dinner to memorize our fanfares.”

The Madrigals are an abundance of talent, music, food, and holiday spirit.

“[They are] a wonderful theatrical experience for everyone involved,” Rancatore said.