Madrigal Dinner Tradition Continues At EHS


Kate Smith, Staff Writer

Everyone’s heard of Medieval Times and Renaissance Fairs–but what about Renaissance Choirs?

Dressed in Renaissance finery fit for the music they sang, Elkhart High School’s advanced choir and strings put on an extravagant show for the 44th Annual Madrigal Dinner on Dec. 4, 2021. The performance and dinner experience is an Elkhart Memorial tradition that is carried on by the combined school. 

“Madrigal” might sound like a made-up word, but it describes a particular kind of music. Madrigal style music is typically a small choir singing a capella, or without accompaniment. The genre of music originates in the Renaissance era and was popular for centuries before dying out. However, it has been revitalized in modern times, with a multitude of choir groups that sing in the madrigal style. 

Elkhart’s Madrigals presented their own take for the Madrigal Dinner on Saturday with a combined choir and symphony orchestra group. Elkhart High School’s stage was transformed into a Renaissance dining hall, complete with plenty of stone, stained glass, tapestries, long tables draped with red cloth, and even a medieval stocks device. The program the group presented included Personent Hodie announcing the arrival of the “court,” Here We Come A-Wassailing accompanying the titular serving of the cider drink called wassail, The Boar’s Head Carol with the serving of the main course, Flaming Dumpling Carol following dessert, a theatrical presentation of Carol of the Belles, and a concert consisting of three pieces entitled 30 Second Fa La La, Fair Phyllis, I Saw, and Throw the Yule Log on, Uncle John.  

The king of the court, junior Jack Coates, was excited about the dinner. Coming from Elkhart Central, Coates had never participated in the exciting event. “I think our dinner was quite a success,” he said, “and for me personally, the second dinner was spectacular!” And of course, without the work of several directors and staff, this event would not have been able to happen. These people include Mr. Josh Hren, Mr. Jeff Reinert, Mr. Joshua Tyson, and Mrs. EvaMarie Young-Ray as choral staff, Mr. David Brennan as auditorium manager and choral staff, and Mrs. Rebecca Yoder with the Madrigal Strings.

All in all, a very merry time was had at Elkhart High School’s 44th Annual Madrigal Dinner!