With the Christmas season in full swing, the singers and performers of McNicholas High School are hard at work preparing for their seasonal shows. McNicholas will again host a Madrigal Dinner and Lessons and Carols, two events that were brought to the school in the recent years by Choral Music Director Chris Albanese.
On Sunday, Dec. 15, the McNicholas Liturgy Choir and Campus Ministry Team will be hosting their second annual Lessons and Carols celebration at 7 p.m. at Guardian Angels Church. The event, which was introduced to the Liturgy Choir curriculum in 2011, combines Catholic Scripture and choral music.
“Lessons and Carols is a very special experience,” Albanese said. “It’s an incredibly unique way of experiencing multiple cultures in one evening. Just being there is like stepping into another world.”
In addition to traditional Christmas carols, attendees can expect to hear a variety of music from culture`s around the world, from Kenyan hymns to Old English melodies. The music at Lessons and Carols is traditionally accompanied by select readings from Scripture, as well as related prayers read by student lectors.
“A lot of the event’s success is rooted in the quality of the music,” Albanese said. “The students really put a lot of work and talent into it, and I really think that the musical experience and exposure will be good for them.”
In addition to Lessons and Carols, McNicholas will also host their second annual Madrigal Dinner on Dec. 6. A Madrigal Dinner is a form of dinner theatre that involves Medieval-Era dining and a variety of performances by theatre and choir students.
The script for the McNicholas Madrigal Dinner will be written by Albanese and performed by a total of 21 students from both the McNicholas choir and theatre. The show will include a formal dinner and a wide variety of performances, ranging from singing to acting, juggling to Shakespeare. During the dinner itself, students will entertain guests at their tables, some of which will be set up on the main stage.
“Madrigal Dinner is a very cultural experience,” Albanese said. “The madrigals written during the Renaissance are a very good fit for our choir, and definitely serve as a fun musical experience for everyone.”
Admission for Lessons and Carols is free. Tickets for the Madrigal Dinner will be offered to family members of performers before going on sale to the public. Space is limited.