“Our motto is ‘many hands make light work,’” said choir teacher Karen Lutgen, as the student body in the audience grew increasingly restless in anticipation of the coming event. After a few more tips and precautions were given, the dismissal was announced and a mass of students poured out of the chapel doors and down to the lower level classrooms to begin “The Madrigal Move”. Stretching into a line that ran from the art rooms back to the commons, students assembled to move large pieces of the set and stage for the Madrigal Dinner, which will take place this Saturday and Sunday. Wooden parts of the stage were carried all the way through the link to the gym, where the dinner will be held this weekend.
Minnehaha has had a Madrigal Singers group for many years, and the Madrigal Dinner takes place once every two years. But, what exactly is a madrigal and what is the history of these singers? According to study.com, a madrigal is a vocal genre of music with poetic lyrics that was very popular from 1450-1600 C.E., or the Renaissance Era. Early madrigal singers, who first performed these songs, first appeared in the 1400’s, but at that point they could only be found in the homes of the wealthy and soon these early madrigals died out.
However, in the 1500’s, a new kind of madrigal was introduced. This new version of madrigals was Italian and included more relevant lyrics and different vocal parts. With this development, madrigals became more accessible to the poor and rich. It seemed that the public enjoyed hearing and singing the vocals that often contained ideas of love, romance and courtship. Thus the popularity of madrigals spread and increased throughout Europe, particularly England.
This year, the Madrigal Dinner will tell the story of Ashes Zelda (sophomore Greta Hallberg), a young maiden who struggles to juggle the love of two young men: humorous Knight Crawler (junior Matthew Humason) and kind-hearted Jack (sophomore Seth Retzlaff). Minnehaha’s Madrigal Singers will act as the King’s court and sing a variety of songs through the program. Also, the court jester (senior Kitra Katz) will make an appearance, a comical character that often appeared in the King’s court during the Renaissance Era. With only one day left until the first performance of the Madrigal Dinner occurs, students and faculty will continue to finish up the last details of the show and prepare to entertain much of the Minnehaha community with music, song, acting and humor.