Making Magic in the Madrigals

The college choir, according to Music Department Chair Margaret Boudreaux, mirrors the philosophy and purpose of the Madrigals that existed during the Renaissance, around the 16th century. The group didn’t exist to make money or anything of the like, they existed because they like to sing. Professor Boudreaux maintains that idea with McDaniel’s company in every way.

It is, in fact, this very reason Professor Boudreaux is here. Back in 1989, students wanted to start an a cappella group because they wanted to have fun and sing, and so the college hired Professor Boudreaux to lead them.

Since the Madrigals launched during the Renaissance, that tends to be type of music that is sung. As such, “Pastime with Good Company,” written by King Henry VIII, is the college Madrigals’ theme. This is not the only kind of music they perform, however, as they are branching out and performing more world music (traditional or folk music), which is quickly gaining popularity. When our Madrigals perform, they tend to do so in full Renaissance costume, making the experience even more enriching for their audiences. Just recently, they gave a performance at the President’s Dinner for alumni.

“We were awesome,” said Katalin Szoboszlay, a junior.

One requirement to be in Madrigals is to be in choir.

“That’s where I really do the warm-ups,” Boudreaux explains.

The college choir is much larger, but singers get more general vocal training there, she adds.

“Singing is biologically hardwired, just like speaking is biologically hardwired,” she says. In order to join the Madrigals, you don’t need to be a perfect singer. You just need to have an interest and a desire.

Around pre-registration time this semester, Boudreaux hopes to start holding open auditions for the choir and the Madrigals.

Although she says she will probably be working at McDaniel for another eight years or so, Professor Boudreaux muses that, “You start thinking about your legacy at that point.” Ideally, when she retires Boudreaux hopes that a fully student-run a cappella group could form and successfully operate.

Students who enjoy singing for the simple reason that it’s enjoyable should start training in the choir and aim for the Madrigals. Madrigals, many group members says, is an experience that isn’t easily forgettable.