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Collegium Musicum presents annual Madrigal Dinner

Dec. 15, 2013 @ 12:17 AM

ONA — After months of preparation, the members of the Cabell Midland High School Collegium Musicum finally got to share their work and talents during their annual Madrigal Dinner this weekend.

The Renaissance-style ensemble of singers put on their most elaborate show of the year, “The Crown and the Crucible,” a three-hour, student-written, pop culture-inspired mystery-adventure the follows members of a royal court who must battle monsters and search for conspirators in an attempt to retrieve their king’s crown.

This year’s show celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Madrigal Dinner with students paying tribute to previous shows.

“We really wanted to respect tradition in a lot of ways but put our twist on it,” said Damon Noel, a senior who played Prince Eric Foreman and helped write the script. “Every Madrigal Dinner I’ve seen has either been an adventure or a mystery so this is sort of both. It has a little bit of everything and things that reference previous Madrigal Dinners and other alumni.”

Lindsey Cremeans, a senior who played Queen “Kitty” Foreman, said the script writers drew from popular movies and tv shows.

“We stole a lot of characters out of ‘That 70’s Show’ and a lot of different movies to create a whole new story,” she said.
Noel said writing sessions, which occurred over summer break, got a little tense at times because everyone was so invested in the work.

“Everyone brought drafts and scene ideas and it got kind of intense because people really defend their ideas,” he said. “After the drama, it ends up being worth it.”

“All of us are committed to it,” Cremeans said. “And it’s a lot of fun singing with other people who are interested in this type of music.”

The Collegium Musicum has been part of CMHS since the school opened in 1994. Ed Harkless, a 35-year teaching veteran and one of the original CMHS faculty members, created the idea from the annual Madrigal Dinner 20 years ago.

He said without the help of parents, the production would not be possible.

“Obviously, something this big, you’ve got to have good help and I have wonderful parents helping,” he said. “Parents do the dinner, the decorating, they’ve gotten donations and put together the (raffle items), they serve dinner and do the clean-up. They do it all. It just would not happen without them.”

Aside from the Madrigal Dinner, the singers present up to 40 programs each year around the community. They have performed in venues including the Washington Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; St. Patrick’s and Christ’s Church Cathedral, both in Dublin, Ireland; Toronto, Canada; and San Francisco.

Funds from the Madrigal Dinner will help to offset the cost the group’s trip to Ireland this March.