Madrigal music harkens back to a magical time |

Madrigal music harkens back to a magical time

Stina Sieg
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE ” When Linda Jenks talks about music, her words come fast and excited. For some reason, you’re excited right back.

“For me, it’s more than an evening’s entertainment,” she said. “It’s asking us to be the best people we can be.”

Oh, that might sound corny from someone else’s lips, but she pulled it off.

Jenks, 61, was speaking about “Sweets for Sweete,” one in a series of five concerts this season, sponsored by her baby, the Academy of Western Slope Artists and Musicians.

She described the night as a typical madrigal event, featuring lively harmonies straight from the Renaissance era. There will be no pews here, she explained. It will all be held in the basement of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, she said, and everyone, including the performing singers, will be seated around tables. As all drink spiced cider and dine on desserts of the time period, a host of ceremonies will introduce each new event of the evening.

There will be toasts and drumrolls and, of course, “light, lively songs,” she said. Harpsichord tunes will be played, and little jesters (children) will cavort, keeping the attitude light and interesting. Musicians bearing a collection of recorders and viola da gambas will serenade everyone, including one notable guest, Queen Mary. Every once in a while, the night’s singers, a baker’s dozen of local professionals amateurs, will break out into song. To close the night, after all this fanfare, a small madrigal written by none other than King Henry VIII will be sung.

“And then, sadly, we’ll have to return to the 21st century,” said Jenks.

To her, that seemed like the only downside of the whole night. A self-described “19th-century person,” she doesn’t seem to have much patience for the impersonal air of the present. She talked about her past, a time not too long ago, when people had time to sit and talk and enjoy one another’s company, and even make music together. There are madrigal events all across the country, she explained, and each represents “a privileged slice” of a more intimate life. Though the Renaissance far precedes anything she’s ever experienced, she totally gets the draw.

“It’s like a shock,” she said, “because there’s something so refined and so different from our current time.”

And she just sounded happy to present that past to people, especially those she knows. Jenks has a doctorate in classical piano performance, and has taught, performed and directed in Boulder, Miami, Las Vegas and San Francisco. But there’s something about the intimacy of the Western Slope, she said, that makes her want to fill it with music. For the last three years, she’s headed the St. Mary Performance Series, which puts national and local talent in the spotlight. Out here, not everyone is a Juilliard-trained musician, she said, but the amount of “homegrown” talent astounds her.

On Saturday and Sunday, that’s exactly what she hopes to put on display.

She almost laughed, out of breath from explaining it. “We usually have to drive all over creation to access performances like this!” she exclaimed.

Not anymore.

Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111

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