By Jessica Spencer
This year marks the 37th annual Madrigal Feaste in the Grand Ballroom of the Keen Johnson Building on Dec. 7 and 8.The dinner will return to its traditional format that made it popular with the Richmond community, said Sue Ellen Ballard, director of chorale activities.
“Over the years, the attendance at the dinner has lessened,” Ballard said. “But, by bringing back the traditional format, we believe that will change.”
Ballard said that by shortening the event to an hour and a half, and singing more familiar Christmas songs, the community will have more of an interest in attending the show.
“This used to be an event that everyone went to, and we want it to become a Richmond tradition again.” Ballard said.
The Madrigal Feaste recreates 16th century English madrigal dinners.
It is divided into two segments. First, the guests are served a seven-course meal while being entertained with live Christmas selections.
Following the meal, the singers, accompanied by faculty and student instrumentalists, will present a concert of familiar madrigal selections.
“We will do our best to make this an event patrons will eagerly anticipate each and every year and one they consider a ‘must’ to begin their holiday celebration,” Ballard said. “In years past, if you didn’t go to the Madrigal dinner, you weren’t in the Christmas spirit.”
Ballard said the Elizabethan atmosphere, accompanied by enchanting Christmas carols, creates an inviting experience for audience members.
“Our whole idea is to make the audience feel that they are going back in time to the Renaissance era.” Ballard said.
The University Singers will provide the entertainment. The 30-member choir, directed by Ballard, will be singing familiar Christmas songs such as “Deck the Halls” and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” as well as many madrigal pieces, all while staying in the Renaissance style throughout the night.
“We want to see a packed house full of excitement again,” Ballard said. “And we hope to see a lot of community involvement.”
Tickets for the event are $25 and went on sale Thursday, Nov. 15. They can be purchased in the Colonel 1 office.