Relay for Life
Alumni Interviews--Where Are They Now?
Behind the Scenes: Madrigal
December 19, 2011By Bridgett Hamilton of Centralia High School Activities
Choir students line the brick patterned walls of the dark “castle.” They each clasp a small white candle with both hands, and the dancing flame is nudged from one wick to another, illuminating their faces and glinting off the crushed velvet of their Medieval clothing. A chorus of “Silent Night” rings from their lips as the audience members pass around the flame to light their own candles. When everyone's candle is lit, the song transitions from lyrics, to humming, then silence. A jester's strong voice is carried over the audience, and, with her last word, the students and spectators blow out their candles, and the choir members file out of the open doors, once again humming the “Silent Night” tune. This is a common scene for the onlookers who incorporate the CHS Madrigal into their busy holiday schedules.
The Choir and Orchestra classes of Centralia High School have hosted many musicals, but one of them has become reoccurring: Madrigal. The Madrigal consists of a musical and dinner for the audience. This became a Centralia High tradition more than a decade ago. As a type of opening act, students roam the halls in their Renaissance clothing and serenade the guests with Christmas carols while they wait in line. When everything begins, the guests are seated in the cafeteria, which is made to look like the interior of a castle--drawbridge and all. Mixed choir serves the food in their peasant costumes, concert choir performs selected songs during the intermissions of the play, and chamber choir performs in the musical itself. What people might not realize is the amount of work and preparation that goes into the final product of the performance. Mrs. Rolfson and her students do their best to address even the smallest detail in order for everything to turn out well for the big day.
One of these students is Shelby Vassos, 16-year-old chamber choir student. Chamber choir begins practicing their songs very early. “This year we began practice around early November, the performance isn't even until December,” says Shelby. “When the actual performance day came around, we had to decorate the walls. There was so much tape to put up, and then after that we had to make all of the brick-print paper fit against them and make sure it stuck well. We also went on some really tall lifts to put up all of the flags.” Shelby also thought Madrigal was very funny and entertaining this year. Josh Hockman, a 17-year-old Chamber Choir member, had an interesting practicing period as well. “We would practice for about three weeks for the performance. A lot of people played characters with accents, they had to rehearse quite a bit in order to sound authentic.”
The audience members are also a very large part of Madrigal. Many of the spectators attend annually, one of them being Donna Ford, CHS guidance secretary. “This year I really enjoyed how the seats were less packed, the performers were able to interact with us more freely with all of the open space. The play was very humorous and engaging, it was easy to follow the story and laugh, and the food was very good as well.” More than anything else, Donna enjoys watching the students blossom. She said, “It amazes me, the talent of our kids. It's good to see our kids branch out and flourish on stage.”
Madrigal could easily be viewed as the first sign of the Christmas season. The ringing chorus of students singing their traditional versus, the comical roles that easily coax out the laughter of the audience, and the interesting visuals the students strain over to give all of this life is a sure sign the holiday season is nearing. CHS choir and orchestra alumni with always have these memories with them, and we can only hope that future generations will be able to incorperate this memmorable event into their Centralia High School years.
Dont forget to veiw the 2011 Madrigal Photo Gallery on this home page.