Madrigals perform for historical holidays

SYCAMORE – Sycamore High School Choir Director Drayton Eggleson said those who attend the school’s 39th annual madrigal dinners this weekend are in for “a really special event.”

“It’s a bunch of high school kids who donate a bunch of their time to this project,” he said. “They are some of our best students.”

Madrigal singing was brought to England from Italy in the 16th century and was at first an informal type of private entertainment at the castle and country homes of the landed gentry, according to a press release from the madrigal group. During the 12 days of the Christmas season, madrigal entertainment was most common, and modern madrigal performances often feature traditional Christmas songs during the holiday season.

“I love the Christmas season, the Christmas spirit and Christmas music,” said senior Laura Knuth, who is performing with the madrigals for the third year. “The good thing about madrigal is that we get to perform Christmas music and we get to perform it well.”

The SHS madrigal troupe will reenact a royal Renaissance banquet as it transforms the church meeting hall into an English castle, complete with a roast beef dinner, a royal court, troubadours, a jester, beggars, jugglers, pages and instrumentalists, and, of course, elaborate costumes.

“Where else can a guy wear a robe like this out in public?” asked senior Dustin King, who has been part of madrigals for four years.


Madrigal Dinners

Sycamore High School madrigals will perform at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8 at St. Mary’s Memorial Hall. $27 ticket includes roast beef or vegetarian dinner and entertainment. For reservations, call 815-899-8160 ext. 2173 or go to and click on “Online Box Office.”

Tickets are available through Dec. 6.

DeKalb High School’s madrigal dinner will be held on Dec. 21 and 22 at the high school. For more information, call 815-754-2100.

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