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'Ye Olde Madrigal Dinner' takes guests back to Elizabethan times

| Juana Moya

It's time to try out your best (or worst) English accent: Lord and Lady Chamberlain have cordially invited you to celebrate the end of a successful harvest and the beginning of the holiday season.

"Ye Olde Madrigal Dinner" will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5 in the Ojibwe Ballroom of Davies Center at UW-Eau Claire.

Madrigal dinners, which date back to the European Middle Ages and through the Renaissance, were celebrations featuring food, wassail and entertainment from local musicians, actors and traveling jugglers.

UW-Eau Claire is the only university in Wisconsin to gather the community in celebration of the madrigal with period costumes and entertainment.  

Those who accept the invitation from Lord and Lady Chamberlain will receive names of nobility as they arrive and will be announced by the hosts as they enter the Great Hall.

Guests will hear the sounds of bellowing laughter throughout the castle (okay, it’s really the Ojibwe Ballroom in Davies Center) as they take their seats. Attendees will be surrounded by dazzling pageantry, colorful banners and accents, beautiful music and a delicious feast. Those attending are invited, but not required, to wear period costumes.

Entertainment will be provided by the Royal Court Singers, the Royal Court Brass, the Court Thespians and the Blugold Ringers. The madrigal menu? Beef vegetable soup, stuffed pork chop (or vegetarian option), oven browned potatoes, glazed carrots, apple dessert, mulled wine and more.

The annual event is presented by UW-Eau Claire’s department of music and theatre arts. Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, professor of music, is the event's producer and choral conductor.

Advance tickets, required for "Ye Olde Madrigal Dinner," are $32.50 per royal guest. Tickets may be purchased in person at the University Service Center on the first floor of Davies Center, online or via phone at 715-846-4636. A $1 processing fee will be charged per ticket purchased online or over the phone.

Photo caption: UW-Eau Claire students provide musical entertainment during "Ye Olde Madrigal Dinner," presented annually by the university’s music and theatre arts department.