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A Taste of the Past

Madrigal Dinner

By Pamela Johnson Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Loveland Classical Madrigal Dinner recalls Renaissance European Times
Posted: 01/17/2015 08:27:55 PM MST

The queen is ill and the court is in an uproar. What could be wrong? But wait, she’s been poisoned. Who could it be?

The mystery unfolded twice this weekend in the gym at Loveland Classical Schools in the midst of laughter, 16th century music, jesters, guards, wenches and royalty.

A madrigal dinner sold out both Friday and Saturday at the charter school.

“This was one of my favorite experiences in high school,” said teacher Cassandra Lemmon, who has worked for four years to bring a madrigal dinner to the Loveland school. “Getting to bring it to our school and share it with these students is amazing.”

Madrigal refers to the type of music that is performed during the event. All the music is a capella (without instruments) from the Renaissance era and sung in parts. A madrigal dinner features this type of music along with a skit and costumes from the same 16th-century era.

Students at the school have been practicing the songs for more than a year, but the skit, costumes and dinner did not come together until this year.

The king reigned, in a gilded shirt and royal robe, with grand gestures.

A jester summoned giggles by hopping around in a bright costume and split hat.

The wenches served food in traditional black dresses and white shirts.

The costumes were made or borrowed and the sets — even the jail — were made by families at the school. Some, namely the principal and vice principal, were even arrested and thrown in said clink.

“It’s kind of like a wonderful experience,” said freshman Emele Miguel, the hostess and head wench. “I’m part of the drama program. It’s great to see music and theater combined.”

The students and teachers rapidly transformed the gym after basketball practice Friday into a dining hall in the royal court.

The atmosphere was excitement and fun, a feeling that continued throughout the weekend performances.

For Ian Meyer, the eighth-grader who played the king, one of the best parts was the ability to interact with the guests. To do so, he said, you have to remain in character and be able to perform off script.

Lemmon plans to make the madrigal dinner an annual tradition which will ultimately raise money for the school music programs, not to mention provide a fun outlet for the students.

“Our next one will have to have a basis on this,” said Meyer, explaining a tradition of madrigal dinners. “It’ll have to tie back.”

The queen, who did not die from poison by the way, may be back next year in the next dinner, but the student who played her part will not. Hunter Miller said if she wasn’t graduating she would love to participate again because the experience was new and fresh and so much fun.

“A lot of work has gone into it, but it’s really exciting,” she said. “I would do it again next year, but I can’t.”

The jealous member of the court who was in love with the king and enticed her son to poison the queen could return. Stay tuned for next year.