Madrigals: A THS Tradition Continued


The 2021 Madrigals Performance

Ryan Kim, Staff Writer

On December 18, Tenafly High School held its annual Madrigals festival, a Renaissance-era performance in which THS students involved in choir and orchestra perform a wide catalog of music ranging from hymns like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming,” to holiday hits like “Deck The Halls” and “S’vivon.”

This year’s festival opened with the orchestra playing a brief set while the audience members settled into their seats. The headliner of the festival was the play Queen Elizabeth’s Madrigal Dinner, performed by the THS madrigal singers. In the play, Queen Elizabeth I visits the castle of Sir William Cecil, also known as Baron Burghley. Throughout the one-hour run time, the castle is home to sword fights, a medieval commercial, and lots of singing. 

Because of COVID-19 concerns, all performers and audience members had to be masked for the entirety of the performance. However, performers were still able to dress up in elegant costumes heavily influenced by English attire from the late 16th century. Grace Chung (’24), who played Monarcho, the court jester, said that “seeing everyone in their costumes”  was one of her favorite aspects of Madrigals. Chung, who dressed up in a jester costume, also added that she “loved everyone’s reaction to [her] costume.” 

Members of the orchestra and the choir emphasized the joy of being able to perform in front of a live audience, following last year’s disappointing Madrigals festival, which was pre-recorded in the empty auditorium due to COVID. Gia Shin (’23), a member of the Madrigals orchestra, described being able to perform in front of an audience as “amazing” and also noted how she “always look[s] forward to the festive environment at Madrigals.” Dina Shlufman (’23), who played the Steward in the play, echoed this sentiment: “[I] love working off of the energy of the crowd.” Gabriel Gutierrez (’23), who played Baron Burghley, named the audience as one of the key reasons that he was able to enjoy performing and felt that being able to “point out people in the first row” while “[venting]…about [his] character’s dilemma” helped him keep the audience engaged.  

When asked to give their favorite part of this year’s madrigals, each performer pointed out a different part of the performance. Chung enjoyed “watching everyone smile and talk in British accents throughout the night.” Shin is looking forward to being able to “conduct some of the Madrigals pieces while Mr. Millar is preoccupied with helping out the choir” next year, as that is a responsibility reserved for seniors. Shlufman’s favorite memory was when she “rang a bell to signal that the show was starting.” Gutierrez simply stated that his favorite aspect of the festival was “singing,” which is rather fitting. This year’s Madrigals did not have as many performers as past years’, however, the individuals who were a part of this year’s Madrigals performance made up for the lack of size by all having a genuine passion and care for performing.       

A special thanks to Mr. Millar, Mr. Moger, the video crew staff, and the custodial staff for making the performance possible.