Madrigals carries on traditions despite COVID

Madrigals performs at RM’s annual Winter Concert.

Liliana Katz-Hollander, Arts Writer

If you were at school on the last day before winter break, chances are you heard some holiday tunes as you attended your classes. Madrigals, RM’s advanced, audition-only chorus, was caroling around the school, a tradition that held strong despite being interrupted by COVID last school year. Madrigals, along with concert choir, makes up Richard Montgomery’s choral program.

Madrigals is a small chorus, normally consisting of around 25 people. It is an SATB chorus, meaning there are sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses. Each group is dedicated to a different pitch to create a harmony of voices. Senior Nick Buckovich, who has been in Madrigals for three years, said that in his audition “I just had to sing any song of my choosing, I think it was [to] sing  eight or 16 measures or something, just a little snippet of it. And then I had to do some sight reading.” 

Sight-reading skills are very important to what enables Madrigals to sing difficult music. Choral music teacher and Madrigals director Carrie Eyler said that she believes the Madrigals program is unique because “so many of [the students] have a strong background in music. They’re able to do music that’s more complex and on a higher level than most of the other schools in the county.” 

Junior Allison Howlett, who is in her second year of Madrigals, said that her favorite part of being in Madrigals is the community. “Honestly, I really love the energy in the room. That sounds kind of silly, but I love the community, because it’s a pretty small class. So, everyone knows each other.” she said. 

Buckovich also said that the people in Madrigals are his favorite part of it. “It’s the people and working towards a common goal. That sounds very corny, but it’s true. It’s definitely my favorite class because it’s such a nice break from the day and we’re all happy to be there and doing something that we all love,” he said. 

Madrigals sings for many events, both in and out of Richard Montgomery. Senior Angelina Guhl, who has been in Madrigals since she was a freshman, said “I think the first [event] was when I was a freshman, we went to the University of Maryland for an invitational, so we got to sing with the college choir there. I guess my other favorite thing is when we went to the White House, just because it was such a novelty and a once in a lifetime experience, and we got chocolate.”

Madrigals has a fall, winter, and spring concert in a normal year, which are free and open to anyone. The fall and winter ones of this year have already occurred, but the spring concert will take place on May 26. In addition, they are performing at Bach in Baltimore on March 6, along with a professional orchestra and soloists. But, coming up very soon is a new Madrigals tradition that takes place right at Richard Montgomery–Singing Valentines. 

For Singing Valentines, groups of Madrigals students pick different songs and learn to perform a section of them a capella. Richard Montgomery students and staff can pay for a message and song to be delivered to another student or staff of their choice, whether that is a friend, significant other or teacher on Valentine’s Day. If you want to buy a Singing Valentine, you can do so on Main Street during lunch February 9, 10, and 11.