Transport Yourself to 1589 at Drexel’s 29th Annual Madrigal Dinners
January 16, 2019
On February 22 and 23, 2019, the Drexel University Chamber Singers will host a night of madrigals, chansons, jesters, jugglers, sword fights, and a toast to the Queen at the 29th Annual Madrigal Dinners in the Great Court of Drexel University’s Main Building. This year, audiences will be transported to the Elizabethan sounds, tastes, and courtly improvisations of 1589.
The Drexel Chamber Singers present a new storyline each year at the Madrigal Dinners. Paired with an authentic dining experience, the 15-voice ensemble, dressed in full Renaissance costume, performs a range of music from England’s Elizabethan period, with storytelling and comedy. Dr. Powell, Director of Choral Activities at Drexel University, brought the concept of a Renaissance themed dinner performance to Drexel after his first experience with Madrigal Dinners that were holiday themed in the early ‘80s when he was a professor in Florida. Powell enjoyed the Renaissance aspect of the show but wanted to present students with more challenging works than the average Christmas carol, so he created the Madrigal Dinners that Drexel and its surrounding communities have come to enjoy.
The Madrigal Dinners have continually been a highlight for Drexel University’s Department of Performing Arts and its participating students. Members of the Chamber Singers not only enjoy learning traditional Renaissance music, but also about the life, culture, and history of the period. Dr. Powell adds that in addition to the “8-10 choral pieces in at least three different languages, each singer gets an assigned solo (typically a lute song--the solo music of the period) and one trio or quartet to learn”; these students gain a breadth of Renaissance music history knowledge that they can use to further their careers after they leave Drexel.
The performances will take place on February 22 and 23, at 7:30 pm in the Great Court (Main Building, NE corner of 32nd & Chestnut Streets). Both nights feature a full Renaissance dinner with Potage Jacqueline, Roast Capon, Poached Salmon, and more. Guests are encouraged to dress in their Renaissance attire, though it is not required. Tickets are available at madrigal.westphal.drexel.edu.
For more information, please contact Drexel University’s Department of Performing Arts at 215-895-ARTS or performingartsGA@drexel.edu.
About the Drexel University Chamber Singers
The Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. Steven Powell, is a select group of 15 singers which performs primarily secular music from the Renaissance (madrigals, chansons, and partsongs). Chosen by audition from the University Chorus, this year’s group includes students with majors in Electrical Engineering, Film & Television, Music Industry, Biological Engineering, Computer Science, Health Services Administration, and several others. In addition to the Madrigal Dinner, the group performs in the University Chorus concert in the Fall and Spring.
About Drexel University’s Department of Performing Arts
The Drexel University Department of Performing Arts is a dedicated community of artists, faculty, and staff committed to providing quality education in dance, music, and theater. The Department looks to expand students' knowledge and skills through academic coursework, rigorous technical training, experiences with professional artists, innovative community outreach, and outstanding performance opportunities. The Department of Performing Arts is home to the dance major and eight minors. It is also home to over 20 performing ensembles including the University Chorus, University Orchestra, Drexel Dance Ensemble, and Drexel Co-Op Theatre Company. For more information, visit http://drexel.edu/performingarts.