Madrigal is a strong tradition

For the past 23 years, the Ames High Fine Arts Department has put on a Madrigal Dinner as a fundraiser. The event transports guests back to the early 1600s and the peak of Renaissance culture and frivolity. This year’s dinner was held from the 1st to the 3rd of December. The “Madrigal Singers” are the highlight of the night. The select group of 28 vocalists consistently surpass expectation and lead the guests through the formalities of the night, such as the Wassail Toast, as well as perform several songs. This year the singers were led by King Jackson Griffith, the only returning three year veteran of the Madrigal Dinner, and Queen Breeana Glenn. “This year was awesome,” Griffith said. “I felt a lot more comfortable.” While the Madrigal Singers are the iconic symbol of the dinner every year, the supporting roles are just as important. Groups from the band and orchestra, the “Royal Court Strings and Brass” also put in long hours of practice and performed for guests with highlighted feature selections as well as ambient background. “I thought it was great,” Mr. Linn, the choir director, said. “It was extremely rewarding for the students. Everything came together, the singers, strings, brass, waiters and tech all did well.” However, one of the most consistent crowd-pleasers is the wonderful food provided by the Hilton Garden Inn. A magnificent three course meal and endless bread keeps the ravenous hordes of guests satisfied between performances. Started off by a bowl of vegetable soup, the meal progresses to a plate of mashed potatoes, pork, and greens, followed by a chocolate cake covered with raspberry sauce. “The bread was good,” said senior Ellen Theil. When all is said and done, three magical Madrigal nights close with one last verse of Silent Night that a stunned audience listens to, spell bound in the darkened hall. As the lights rise and the crowds of well wishers disperse, the strands of garland and bright banners are already being taken down and packed away for next year. The charm is over, and a group of fair lords and ladies are once again ordinary high-schoolers. “When it’s all over it feels great,” Linn said. “But it is kind of a let down.”