Chambers and madrigals prepare for Christmas season


Chambers and madrigals prepare for their first performance. The madrigals performances this year are December 6, 7, and 8.

  The cold weather and snow in the sky mean that it is almost time for S.H.S.’s madrigals and chambers to once again entertain crowds of people excited for the holiday season.

  S.H.S. madrigals and chambers began to prepare for the Christmas season in early September with tryouts. For tryouts, everyone who tries out learns the song “Wassail”, which is one of the songs the madrigals sing during the dinners. There are 22 members a part of madrigals, as well as 22 members a part of chambers. 

  Choir teacher Weston Henry, who was a part of madrigals when he was in high school continues the legacy of the group. Henry has been in charge of the madrigals group since 2016. 

  Henry said, “My favorite part of the madrigal program is the tradition that it has at Sterling High School. This is something that has been going on for a very long time and many choir students who graduate from Sterling remember their time in the madrigal program as a great memory. I know that I still hold it as a top memory of my Sterling High School years.”

  Henry has kept some of the original music and added some new songs for the group to sing. Some of the traditional Christmas carols the group sing are “Carol of the Bells” and “We wish you a merry Christmas.” Some of the more uncommon songs the group sing are “In The Bleak Midwinter” and “People Look East”. 

  Overall, the madrigals have 17-18 songs to memorize and sing as well as their scripts. For their portion of the concert, the chambers have six pieces. Two of the six pieces they get to sing are combined with the madrigals. This year the madrigals are also doing a special song dedicated to Chemistry and CPIOS teacher Steve Johnson due to him retiring after this year.     

  The madrigals start with two 45-minute practices a week during 8th hour, until about the last week in September. Then, in the last week of September, madrigals begin their six to nine practice every Monday, as well as their 8th hour practice on Wednesdays.  

  This year the madrigals took a trip to Medieval Times to better understand the time era. During the show, students get to watch a story unravel with actors, animals, and different lights that help tell the story. The dinner includes games that would be played in that time period, sword fights, and jousting. These things help the madrigals understand more about that time period to help them act during their three dinners. 

  This year the madrigals are bringing back their annual retreat to prepare for their three dinners at the beginning of December. During the retreat, the group leaves midday to Camp Reynoldswood to practice music, scrips, and bond as a group. 

  In regard to the retreat this year, sophomore Cole Stumpenhorst stated, “I’m excited, I think it’s going to be fun. It’s also really good for the group because then people have more confidence in their part during the dinners.” 

  For some, being a part of the madrigals program is a favorite part of their holiday season.

  Senior Anna Hutchison said, “Being a part of the madrigals program is absolutely amazing! It’s so rewarding to sing with a group of people that works hard and makes such beautiful music.”   

  Many of the members move from chambers to madrigals from one year to the next.

  Sophomore Brinley Francis, who was in chambers last year and is now in madrigals, Francis shared, “It’s different because, during chambers, I felt a lot less comfortable than I do with madrigals. Everyone is very welcoming, and we do a lot more activities than just singing. My favorite part is the Monday rehearsals. I feel as if we get a lot done and it’s super fun to me.”  

  Overall the madrigals and chambers have to prepare for the busiest time of the year, with lots of practice to make the best sound that they can for the loved tradition by all.