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The online collaborative home for the print publications of Golden Wave Media.

THS Current

The online collaborative home for the print publications of Golden Wave Media.

THS Current

Madrigals spread Christmas cheer at annual Singe Feaste

Kara Graham
Hannah White (10) walks into the annual Singe Feaste. Over 300 people attended through both showings.
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  • DJ Allen and LJ Conley lead the line of members to enter Singe Feaste. Members practiced for weeks to perfect every detail.

  • Andrea Laman (12) prepares for her last Singe Feaste. Laman has been a part of Madrigals for 4 years.

  • Madrigals members greet guests as they file into St. James Catholic Church. There were over 300 guests that attended SingFeaste.

  • Madrigal members file in line to make their grand entrance into St. James.

  • Director, Suzy Williams, encourages her students before their first performance that was hosted on November 31st.

  • Andrea Laman, Isabelle Rutland, Alyssa Arnold, Alania Laman, and Claudia Baylock gather in their traditional European gowns and headdresses. These outfits date back to the 1400’s to 1500’s.

  • Andrea and Alaina Laman prepare for their first and final Singe Feaste. This is the first year the siblings were both in Madrigals.

  • Hi-Tide members sing Noel, Noel to greet guests

  • Madrigals members separate into two lines to walk among the crowd.

  • Landon Chapman, Dylan Johnson, Lauren Bell prepare gather together for Singe Feaste.

  • Caleigh Martin, Ella Middleton, Katelyn Cheney, Sydney Ladd, Shelby Burks, and Andrea Laman prepare to stand in front of guests to perform Noel, Noel.

  • Caleigh Martin sings her solo in Hi-Tide’s song Noel, Noel. Martin has been a member for 4 years

  • Shelby Burks speaks about rules to the guests of Singe Feaste.

  • Madrigal students sing their song about Wassail while it is served to guests.

  • Ella Middleton sings her solo in the song Wassail.

  • Singe Feaste has been a tradition in the community for over 50 years

  • Madrigals prepares to sing about a Wassail. Wassail is a spiced cider used in Yuletide rituals.

  • The boar’s head symbolizes triumph over evil in Old Europe. Madrigals sang about the Boar’s Head tradition as guests were served pork loin

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On November 30th and December 1st over 300 members of the community gathered at St. James Catholic church to watch the Madrigal’s annual Singe Feaste. The Madrigal choir transported the audience to 16th-century Europe with traditional carols and authentic decorations. 

The tradition of Singe Feaste is well renowned in the community dating back over 50 years and for many, it starts their Christmas season just right. Director Suzy Williams works with her Madrigal students to bring the event to life. According to Williams, Singe Feaste started under Madrigal’s first director Kim Coker.

“There are many people that come every year to the Madrigal dinner and say that it starts their Christmas season off, it gets them in the Christmas spirit,” Williams said.

Members of Madrigals are appreciative of the community support and look forward to the event every year.

 “It’s really fun when we get to present to the community. I love seeing people’s reactions to us,” senior Caleigh Martin said. 

The group sings songs related to Christmas from the past and the present. The group uses a variety of styles to convey the theme to the audience.

“We do not do only traditional Renaissance music, which is what a madrigal group customarily would do, but we do more– this program has everything on it from there’s no place like home for the holidays to a jazz version of Jingle Bells,” Williams said.

Madrigal singers practiced long hours in preparation for Singe Feaste. Members were given speaking parts to inform guests about the mid-century theme.

“Two weeks before [Singe Feaste] we practice every day after school until 6 pm. We don’t sing every day, but we run through all the logistics of it. We run through the acting, we learn the dance, we do all the skits that we do,” Martin said

Guests have to option not only to listen to the songs but to take part in a dinner. The dinner is culturally significant to mid-century Europe so guests feel immersed in the theme. 

One of the many culinary delights that guests try is Wassail. Wassail was used in English Yuletide rituals as well as harvests according to Researchers Gateway.

“It’s warm Spiced Cider. And we serve that first and we sing a song about that called the Wassail song. And then the next big course that comes out is the boar’s head. I’m pretty sure the menu always has pork loin or something like that on it. We bring out a giant boar head that’s all decorated up with fruit,” Williams said. 

Singe Feaste takes a lot of preparation and movement to bring the Christmas spirit to life. 

“[The] Madrigal dinner is a massive undertaking, and it takes a lot of help, we have the school system maintenance department that helps us tremendously. And then the parents help a lot,” Williams said.

While performing the performers stand on a set adorned with various wreaths and garland. The set was designed by Williams over 12 years ago and is mobile, but it takes a lot of help to make the stage look the best.

 “We began building the stage over at St. James. And then at two o’clock trailers and trucks came in with all of the boxes of bows and ribbons and ornaments and all of the things that make the feast. The school system delivered the stage over for us,” Williams said.

Singe Feaste is cherished among members of Madrigals and is one of the fondest memories of members.

“It’s kind of fun to think back on all the people that have been in there with me, and just think back on all the fond memories that each group has brought. Every group is a little bit different,” Martin said


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About the Contributor
Kara Graham, Associate Editor
Kara Graham is an editor for Wave Media. She has always had a passion for writing and often writes poems and reads in her spare time. She is the recipient of the MSPA Best of Show Lede, MSPA Best of Mississippi Feature Writing/Reporting, and MSPA Best of Mississippi Depth Reporting Winner.  She is also an MSPA All-Mississippi Honoree. She had one of her articles published on the Best of SNO website. She is president of the journalism honor society Quill & Scroll. She participated in a virtual newsroom called Headliners of Summer where she was joined by writers from 16 states and 4 countries to write stories of local and national interest. You can access more of her work on the Headliners of Summer website. She hopes to major in journalism at the University of Mississippi. This is her second year writing for Wave Media  
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