NEW BRITAIN - According to members of the Madrigal Singers both past and present, the ensemble continues to be an important part of the NBHS music suite as it has developed and changed over the years.
“The Madrigal Feaste is really fun. You hear a lot of traditional music you don’t really hear so much anymore like Renaissance music, medieval music, so that was kind of a neat experience,” said Justin Carlin, New Britain High School’s band director and a former member of the Madrigal Brass Ensemble. “I’m seeing that same excitement with students who are in the Madrigal Brass this year.”
Carlin said the Madrigal Feaste offers a chance to hear music performed hundreds of years ago with a modern twist.
“It is a neat connection to the past, and the fact that it’s been going on for now 40 years shows that it has legs, it’s gained traction and it’s still a consistent tradition at New Britain High School.”
This year’s event will be Alderman Robert Smedley’s 18th Madrigal Feaste. Smedley started working the event as a stage crew student while at NBHS, and he now serves as the event’s technical director.
Smedley’s role now is logistical and making sure everything is set up the way it should be, but the alderman said he’s continued to see the importance of the Madrigal Feaste over the years.
“It’s something outside what the kids would be normally accustomed to,” he said. “It gives them a little bit more of an in-depth culture than they might get in a history class. They have to have an understanding of what occurred in Elizabethan times, when feasts like this would actually happen, so they understand their position in the show.”
For the group’s student leaders, Robert Breau and Giovanni Cirinna, their introduction to the Madrigal Singers came after a recommendation from their eighth grade music teacher. Breau and Cirinna visited the music department with a few juniors at the time and had an impromptu audition for the group.
“Normally you have to learn a song, learn a dance and maybe do your own song, but we got kind of lucky and only had to sing our own song,” Breau said, remembering their audition. “I guess he really liked us.”
Now seniors, Cirinna and Breau are ready to participate in their final Madrigal Feaste, at least as students. The two said they appreciate their time with the group.
“It’s really time consuming, but when you spend it with people you’re comfortable with it’s actually a good feeling,” Cirinna said. “It’s like another family.”
The students plan on continuing their passion for music after high school, one way or another. Cirinna said he would like to double major in engineering and music, and Breau said he will consider becoming an educator.
“I’m not sure exactly what I’m doing after high school, but in the future I would like to possibly be a music teacher or possibly a choral teacher,” Breau said. “I just love this stuff.”
Skyler Frazer cann be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SFrazerNBH