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Madrigals make magical music

Ryan Graff

In the early 1980s, the Mountain Madrigals would take you back to the 16th and 17th centuries. They sang madrigals – polyphonic a cappella songs developed in Italy in the 16th century for four to six voices.Problem was, not too many people appreciated madrigals, said Mountain Madrigals director Laura Porterfield. It didn’t take long though for the Madrigals to drop the madrigals and start a holiday tradition for many in Glenwood.”It’s really a tradition for most people,” Porterfield said. “A lot of people say (the Mountain Madrigal concerts) are the beginning of their real holiday season.”Not only are the concerts a tradition, but they’re also a free tradition.”We sound a lot better than you’d expect from a free choir,” said Madrigals singer Steve Shute. Like most choirs in the area, the Mountain Madrigals are an all-volunteer choir of engineers, teachers, chiropractors, plumbers and the like who start singing together in August in preparation for three Christmas shows a year. They’ve been singing to 1,500 or 2,000 people each holiday season since 1981 – nearly 25 years, Shute said.The 25-member Madrigals have sung about every Christmas tune you can think of, and many you can’t. This year they’re planning religious and secular music from “Holiday Bells” (an offshoot of “Ding Dong Merrily on High”), “Shepherd’s Joy” and “Jesus What a Wonderful Child,” a black spiritual piece. “It doesn’t have quite the soul that a real soul choir would have,” Shute said, but the Madrigals do “What a Wonderful Child” justice. What: The Mountain Madrigals Christmas ConcertsWhen: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18Where: First United Methodist Church, Ninth and Cooper


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