Coal City Madrigals a holiday tradition
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent December 2, 2012 4:16PM
The Coal City High School Madrigals. SUBMITTED PHOTO
Updated: January 4, 2013 6:09AM
Add a two-hour magical medieval twist to your holiday fun with a performance by the Coal City High School Madrigals.
Inside the school’s gymnasium turned medieval castle, you’ll enjoy a multicourse formal dinner or high tea (including the choir’s “famous” wassail). The main event is an a capella vocal concert of traditional holiday renaissance music and a medieval-inspired comedy play, all performed by the 19-member Madrigal cast dressed in period costumes.
In addition, the Coal City High School Madrigal brass ensemble and harpist will perform instrumental holiday selections. The Coal City Assumption Bell Choir will also play.
Although the madrigals existed for many years, not until co-directors Sherfy Browning and Celeste Sheridan assumed the reins did the choir ascend from a simple concert and dinner to the high level of showmanship it offers today.
“We wanted the experience to be very special for the cast,” Sheridan said. “It’s the only a cappella group in the school, which gives them the opportunity to both sing and act. The effects are stunning.”
Browning added, “This group is the cream of the crop. These are very special kids. They students are also involved in speech, band, jazz band, swing choir and the math and speech teams.”
This year, the Madrigals will sing 20 a cappella songs consisting of three to five parts, all deriving from the 15th and 16th century. In addition, they will present “The Ring of Truth,” an original play by Browning.
Sheridan, a former graphic artist, utilizes her background in visual and musical arts, built free standing castle walls, designed her own costumes and found a group of women willing to sew them.
“I believe we offer something very unique that our students just don’t get anywhere else,” Sheridan said.
If you miss this weekend’s show, you’ll have another opportunity to enjoy the madrigals on Dec. 16, when cast members and alumni alike perform a charity concert to raise money and supplies for the Grundy County Food Pantry and We Care of Grundy County.