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20th annual 'Ye Olde Madrigale Dinner' set for Dec. 2-3

RELEASED: Nov. 22, 2011

Schwartzhoff
Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff

EAU CLAIRE —The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Chamber Choir will present the 20th anniversary of the "Ye Olde Madrigale Dinner" at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 in the Council Fire Room of Davies Center. UW- Eau Claire is the only four-year university in Wisconsin to have a Madrigale dinner.

The dinner features a 15th-century-style banquet, show and selections of madrigal style music performed by the Court Chamber Choir, directed by Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, professor of music.

The choir, composed of 24 UW-Eau Claire musicians, plays a royal court celebrating a successful harvest and the excitement of the holiday season. The court has gathered in the Great Hall of Lord and Lady Chamberlain's castle where they will share a night of laughter over the antics of the court jester.

This year's king is sophomore Andrew Schwab, Winona, Minn., the queen is sophomore Lauren Panos, Hartland, and the Jester is sophomore Jared Beebe, Platteville.

The performances will include a variety of musical experiences, including the Court Chamber Choir, the Court Brass Choir, the Court Thespians, Gamba Consort, Draw and Quarterstaff and Paula Smith on harp.

Dr. Tulio Rondón, assistant professor of music, will be in charge of the viola da gamba consort, featuring student performances by juniors Chelsea Caldie, Green Bay, and Heather Mueller, Altoona. Both Caldie and Mueller will play renaissance bass duos by different composers.

"The viola da gamba is an instrument that is rare at universities and we have the luxury to offer that particular class to our students," Rondón said.

Madrigale
The Madrigale dinner will feature a royal court, including a king, queen and jester.

F. Reed Brown, assistant professor of theatre, will perform with several students during the Draw and Quarterstaff. Students include senior Jennifer Sisko, Elk Horn, and senior Evan Wilberg, Anoka, Minn.

"I have assembled a small group of actors with stage combat experience, which we are calling Draw and Quarterstaff," Brown said. "In the course of the evening, a dispute over a wench's honor breaks out as does a full blown sword fight (Rapier and Dagger)."

Each December the ensemble prepares and performs "Ye Olde Madrigale Dinner." As a result of its popularity, the dinner is performed twice during each holiday season.

In Renaissance period costumes, the choir members recreate lords and ladies, dukes and duchesses, counts and countesses, and even a king and queen.

Throughout the evening these "Royal Court Singers" perform music from the madrigal tradition, sing songs of the holiday season and conclude the festivities with a short play.

At "Ye Olde Madrigale Dinner" patrons enjoy an authentic renaissance feast, including wassail, stuffed pork chops, glazed carrots and an apple dessert.

Patrons are encouraged to come dressed in period costumes.

Tickets, available at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727 or 800-949-UWEC, are $27.50. Tickets must be reserved at the Service Center by Nov. 30.

There will be no ticket sales at the door.

The doors open at 6 p.m. each night, with festivities starting at 6:30 p.m.

-30-

JT/JB/DW

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