NEW BRITAIN – After two years away from the stage, students at New Britain High School will perform in front of a live audience this week in the high school auditorium.
The New Britain High School Music Department will present ‘Ye Olde Madrigal Feaste, or The Feaste Games, a series of performances with dinner that will take place Friday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m and Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. The Madrigal Singers, Treble Choir, instrumentalists, and other entertainers will perform musical selections. Choir Director Jason Nicolo Ferrandino said the show will feature classic holiday songs with a new storyline and characters.
“For this year, I sort of had the idea to have games be the basic overall,” Ferrandino said. “Then a couple of months ago when Squid Games came out, it was like ‘oh this fits in very nice’. So, I sort of worked a couple of elements into the comedy.”
Ferrandino has worked with the Madrigal Feaste for more than 20 years and said this show comes with its own challenges. Ferrandino said last year the performance was done virtually in order to keep with the school district Covid guidelines. This year, there will be an audience and the group will perform wearing masks. Reservations are required and interested guests can donate $35 per person, which includes the meal. Each To-Go meal will be distributed on the way out of the theater and will be individually packed.
Senior Isabella Petrisko will play the role of the Queen, which she said is a step up from her last performance as a lady in waiting when she was a sophomore. As a student leader, she helps her peers to learn their lines and assists in teaching music. Petrisko said getting the role has felt bittersweet because it’s something she had been working to achieve her entire high school career but it also means it is her last year performing. However, she said she is excited to perform for the first time in two years.
“Last year everyone lost a little bit of themselves, like a piece of themselves,” Petrisko said. “We all lost some type of drive to do anything really. I feel like this year was not only about putting together a show, it was about getting together as a group and really bonding over lost time.”
Petrisko said one of the challenges the group faced when preparing for the performance was the fact that several students in the group have either never had experience performing live or haven’t performed in a long time.
Towards the beginning of 2020, Miguel Pagan said the group was preparing for the spring performance when the pandemic hit. Pagan, now a senior, said he was disappointed when the show that they had practice for never made it to the stage. He said he is excited to be in front of an audience and to share the experience with the younger members of the group.
“Some of these juniors have never actually been on stage because of the pandemic,” Pagan said. “I know their nerves are high for them.”
Senior Dallas Bastek said she is most looking forward to seeing people smile again. Bastek said she performed in the virtual Madrigal Feaste last year, but felt it wasn’t the same as a live performance. She said although the video can receive a ‘like’ or a comment, she prefers performing in person because it allows her to connect with everyone.
“I’m looking forward to the rush of stepping out on stage again because that adrenaline boost something that I anticipate with every show,” Bastek said. “The first time you look and you see the whole audience as soon as the stage lights hit you. That’s like the best feeling for me.”