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Department of Music to Present Concert Version of Madrigal Feaste; Proceeds Support Trip to Spain


JONESBORO – Although the 15th annual Arkansas State University Madrigal Feaste was cancelled in December due to inclement weather, the University Choirs will present a special concert version of the Madrigal Feaste in Riceland Hall of Fowler Center at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21.  The Madrigal Feaste is a tradition of the Department of Music, an annual highlight presented in the style of Merrie Olde England with costumes, decorations, comedy and fanfare

“This concert version, open to the public at no cost, is a staging of the comedy and music of our annual feaste,” says Dr. Dale Miller, A-State director of choral activities and director of the feaste.  “Many hours of rehearsal and preparation were held by students and faculty last fall to be ready to present the feaste, so this is will provide an opportunity for the students to showcase their talents.”

The Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, led by Dr. Miller, will host the evening’s entertainment. They will serve as the court of “King Henry the Eighth of England, Jonesboro, and Craighead County.”  There will be no meal served, but guests are encouraged to be seated in Riceland Hall by 7 p.m. for the first fanfare.  Wassail, the traditional drink of the feaste, and desserts will be served to guests and cast members at a reception following the concert.

No tickets will be sold to the Madrigal Concert event.  Miller explained, “Although Madrigal Feaste is a major fundraising event for the Choir’s Performance Tour Fund, this is an opportunity for a larger part of the public to participate in the fun of Madrigal Feaste without paying a set amount.   A few of our ticket holders from the cancelled Madrigal event donated the cost of their feaste tickets to the December program to support the choir and help defray the expenses already incurred.  There will be opportunities at the concert for tax-deductible donations from our January audience members as well.”    

“We are so excited about our trip to perform in Spain, seeing the art and architecture, and especially being able to sing in some historically significant cathedrals in Barcelona and Valencia and Madrid,” Miller continued.  “We need the help of many people who can donate to be able to take as many of our students as possible.  We are able to bring music history to life as we sing in the same church where a Spanish composer from the 16th century wrote his masses, and to bring American music like our spirituals and secular music of living composers like A-State alumnus and Nettleton High School choral director Jonathan Adams, and internationally renowned Eric Whitacre.”

The music for the feaste will include traditional carols by the servers and audience, brass fanfares and harpsichord solos, as well as Italian and English madrigals and Spanish villancicos by the royal court.  King Henry the Eighth and Queen Anne Boleynn will be played by John Phillians of Wynne and Jessica Baldwin of Paragould.  The lords and ladies of the Royal Court, played by the members of the Chamber Singers, are: Dennese Adkins of Cabot, Jesse Holder of Advance, Mo., Emily Garren of Blytheville, sopranos; Morgan Langley of White Hall, Sara Ray of Paragould, Loren Snook of Bradford, and Cori Beasley of Gilmer, Texas, altos; Jacob Bushong of Paragould, Grant Atkins of Springdale, Alex Swenson of Poplar Bluff, Mo., and Kane Bradley of Russellville, tenors; and Gregory Self of Williford, Ian Tucker of Bakersfield, Calif., and Drew Warren of Manila, basses.

Kale McDaniel of Jonesboro will be the steward and John Yerger, also of Jonesboro, will be the jester.  The knaves and wenches will be played by other members of the A-State Concert Choir.  Brian Henkelmann, temporary instructor of music, will play harpsichord, and the student brass ensemble also will play.

For more details about this concert or information about A-State music, individuals may call the Department of Music at (870) 972-2094.

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Jessica Baldwin as Queen Anne
Jessica Baldwin
as Queen Anne Boleynn

John Phillians as King Henry VIII
John Phillians
as King Henry VIII