Special to the Times-Tribune
When University of the Cumberlands’ (UC) music department presents its Madrigal Dinners in preparation for the Christmas season, it will carry on a long tradition. While this is Cumberlands’ 45th annual event, celebrations featuring madrigal music date back to 16th-century Europe.
Cumberlands’ version of the ancient festivities is patterned after the Elizabethan style as the celebration reached the height of its popularity in England at that time.
The event features period-costumed student participants who portray members of a royal court as they entertain their attending guests with music and comedy. Although traditional madrigal music is a form of unaccompanied, vocal music, at Cumberlands, many types of Christmas music are featured. The performance takes place during a sumptuous feast, and although the dishes are slightly similar to what might have been served at a traditional Madrigal feast, they are more attuned to modern tastes.
Dr. Harold Wortman, former head of the music department, introduced the Madrigal Dinner to Cumberlands in 1967, and he hoped the program would help to strengthen the relationship between the university and the community. The program’s continuing and growing popularity within the area has fulfilled his wishes, as many students and faculty, staff and community members now consider the Madrigal Dinners an important part of their Christmas celebration.
This year the Madrigal dinners will be held at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 29, 30, and December 1 in the TJ Roberts Dining Hall. Ticket information and reservations are available through Cumberlands’ music department at 606-539-4332.