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FHS Madrigal Singers celebrate sounds of Christmas

The sounds of Christmas are echoing through the halls of Farragut High School as the Madrigal Singers busily rehearse for the 2004 concert season.

Ginny Herrick, FHS music director, said the students have eleven performance dates between Thanksgiving week and mid-December and have multiple performances on many of those days.

“We have two different performances, the dinner show, which is approximately two hours, and the half-hour show,” Herrick said.

Herrick said the students have scripted the dinner show themselves. The students will perform a play and sing holiday music while the guests enjoy their meal.

The Madrigal Singers is comprised of 24 students — 11 boys and 13 girls. Students must be in at least the 10th grade in order to audition for the chorus. Herrick said the musical arrangement for the madrigal concert varies from year to year.

“We try to keep it new and fresh,” she said.

Herrick, who is a former FHS student, is in her fourth year as music director. Assisting Herrick during the fall term is Jihan Cox, a Lee University student.

“This has been a real treat for me having a student/teacher,” Herrick said. “I probably won’t have an assistant next semester, but I may have one next year.”

The rehearsal for the madrigal concert takes place during the student’s first block class. Noting the amount of time the students devote to chorus, Herrick said she is proud of the kids for putting other interests on the back burner in order to commit to the madrigal chorus. The students are able to read music and Herrick said several take voice lessons or play a musical instrument.

Herrick also directs a women’s chorus with approximately 60 girls and a men’s chorus with 25 boys as well as a mixed chorus.

Fifteen of her students auditioned for and made All-East Honor Choirs. Those students performed at Oak Ridge High School Saturday, Nov. 20, and Herrick said she expects four or five of the students to be selected for All-State.

The madrigal form of music originated during Medieval times. The name madrigal refers to two different forms of Italian music: one relating to the poetic and the other a variation of secular vocal music. Because a portion of the performance is done acappella, Herrick stresses the importance of enunciation throughout rehearsal. She instructs the students to stress ending consonants, hold the last note and to let the melody come out, which she said adds to the authenticity of the madrigal performance.

Herrick said the students are responsible for their own costumes. She said they either construct their own costumes, enlist the help of a crafty mother or hire a tailor.

The girls typically wear long velvet gowns while the boys wear knickers and vests. The singers will be performing for the FHS student body Thanksgiving week.

“They will be in costume for the school performance and the boys are hoping that their knickers are long enough so they can wear knee-high socks rather than tights,” Herrick added.

The students are in the process of auditioning for extra solo parts and Herrick said they will be finalized by the first performance.

For more information about performance dates and times of the FHS Madrigal Singers, call the chorus office at 671-7137.


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