Choir Prepares for Madrigal Festival

Kylee Jinks, Author

Competing in the annual Madrigal Festival, Choir will travel to San Antonio on Feb. 22-23.

“This festival has been going on for over 60 years, consisting of the top 42 Madrigal choirs from the State of Texas and Oklahoma,” Head Choir Director Heather Orr said. “Performing to win rankings first through third or earn a performance of distinction.”

A Madrigal Choir is mostly known for the renaissance attire but sings a variety of songs a capella. The choir has been competing at this festival for 17 years now, at least receiving a performance of distinction if not placing every year.

“We have come so far with about three weeks to go until competition,” junior Jayden Petterson said. “We have plenty of time to clean up our songs and make them great. I have a confident view that we are going to be amazing on our pieces as a group.”

The choir will be singing three selections such as “My True Love Hath My Heart” by Jean Berger, “Ascendit Deus” by Peter Philips, and finally “With a Lily in your hand” by Eric Whitaker.

“The music is extremely difficult,” senior Cody Cockroft said. “We get some of the songs in the summer and the rest through the school year, all-in-all practicing for months.”

The students have been rehearsing every week with clinicians including Mrs. Denise Eaton, and Dr. Murphy the director of the music program at Stephen F. Austin University.

“I have really enjoyed working with the different clinicians, getting extra perspectives on the music and ways we can improve our performance,” senior Paige Clift said. “Since I will be attending SFA, working with Dr. Murphy was such a privilege. I look forward to traveling with these talented people, and I know I won’t forget the memories along the way.”

Not only do the kids get to create beautiful music, but they also spend a lot of quality time together.

“I’m definitely going to miss the experience,” senior Chloe Coleman said. “From competing to being with my friends.”

Through long bus rides and late nights at hotels, the students continuously practice and critique each other while playing games and activities.

“With the amount of time put in, despite whatever happens, I know we will go out and do the best we can,” Coleman said.

To be in the Madrigal choir students must audition. The choir mostly contains juniors and seniors. Junior Claire Orr said she “couldn’t wait to be in the group.”

“Last year was my first year to participate with the Madrigal choir and that performance is one of many that I will always remember and look back on,” Claire said. “All the hard work was worth it and this year I’m feeling the same way. I can’t wait for more times to perform these breath-taking arrangements with my second family.”