Uni High’s first official Madrigal group was formed in 1948. The group originally included twelve student singers, though additional singers were added throughout the years and the current Madrigal group includes seventeen students. The Madrigals have always been a special part of Uni because of traditions begun in the 1960’s. Uni’s winter party traditionally includes a “surprise” performance from the Madrigals after they lead students through the halls with singing and candles. There also used to be a formal Madrigal dinner that included fancy foods like an actual stuffed boar’s head. The Madrigals began wearing Elizabethan style costumes in the early 1970’s, and today’s group still performs in period attire.
This CD is from Uni’s 1967/1968 Madrigals. They are singing an arrangement of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and other beloved songs, accompanied by Uni grad Marie Chow, class of 1969. At the time, Marcia Swengel Powell was the Madrigals director. She took the group to an Illinois state contest and they toured across the state in 1970. Uni madrigals have ccontinued singing together and they still perform several times a year, especially during the Christmas season. Their current director, Richard Murphy, organized a Madrigals reunion in 2017 that included previous members from as early as the 1950’s. Most singers still remembered the classic songs they had rehearsed and performed decades earlier.
Interview with Chris Payne, October 15, 2019