Coal City Madrigals will put you in the Christmas mood

COAL CITY HIGH School seniors Jared Counterman (left) and Elaina Patten have been selected to serve as this year’s Madrigal king and queen. Coal City School District photo.


Like the royals that have come before them, King Jared and Queen Elaina are preparing for the upcoming holiday with a grand soiree and they will open the doors to the castle for the Coal City High School Madrigals 25th holiday performance.

Established in 1998, Madrigals is a unique program within the school's music department consisting of a select group of student vocalists who mainly perform 15th and 16th Century a cappella music.

In keeping with the traditions of the 15th Century, the modern day royals will host a celebration full of merriment—singing, dancing and raising a cup in celebration of the king. And at these celebrations there was feasting, so this year one of the three performances will provide guests with an opportunity to graze across a table filled with meats, cheeses, and other savory and sweet delicacies.

“A feature of the annual Madrigal performance was always the dinner, unfortunately that has not been an option for the past few years. So we are extremely excited to offer this opportunity for feasting and fellowship with our guests,” said Ann Gill, the group’s co-director.

The grazing table will be open prior to the Saturday, Dec. 9 performance with doors opening at 6 p.m.

It has been said the performances set the tone for Christmas and the entire holiday season. The highlight to every Madrigal concert is the carols they sing and this year the group has added two new songs to their repertoire.

“This is an incredibly talented group of vocalists. They have taken on some challenging pieces this year and I couldn’t be more proud of what they have accomplished,” said co-director Shanan D’Agostino.

The group is led by seniors Elaina Patten and Jared Counterman who were selected by their peers to serve as Madrigal queen and king. The leadership roles go to veteran members who exhibit leadership qualities and a commitment to the program.

“Elaina and Jared have set an example for others in the group by taking the lead to assure all members are doing their best in every rehearsal and performance,” D’Agostino said.

The royals are served by two jesters who serve up whimsical and witty moments throughout the performance. Jesters Adaline Dowling and Mason Natyshok will keep the royal guests guessing with some of the events that will unfold throughout the soiree.

The 25-member choir also features the voices of seniors Elsa Bunton, Amelia Fritz, Chesterine Kuhel, Mackenzie Brown, Bradley Burla, Stephen Byers, Jr. and Ethan Scrogham. Juniors Eliana Chernesky, Melody Kinder and Logan Hausman.

Sophomores include Leo McCants, Jordan Olson, Olivia Sage, Sam Vota, Giovanni Bruno and Gianna Savarino. And, freshmen are Elizabeth Nadess, Olivia Vota, Cora Armstrong, Caroline Childers and Anastasia Papach. Within the group, Patten, Counterman, Dowling and Hausman serve as section leaders.

The Madrigal performances will take place in the Coal City Performing Arts Center at Coal City High School. Shows are Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are general seating and available in advance at or at the door prior to each performance. Tickets for the Friday and Sunday performances are $5 per person and $12 for the Saturday performance that includes the feast.

On Friday and Sunday doors open 30 minutes prior to the start of the show. And on Saturday guests will be welcomed in at 6 p.m.

The Madrigal’s famous wassail will be served at intermission of all three performances.

It has been a busy season for the Madrigals with performances at the Three French Hens Holiday Market and Home for the Holidays in Morris, shows for the Coal City School District’s early childhood center, elementary and intermediate schools, a visit to the Board of Education and participating in the annual winter choral concert.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to share in the spirit of the season with the community and showcase this amazing group of young performers,” Gill said.

“On behalf of the Madrigal choir we invite the entire community to join us this weekend in the Coal City Performing Arts Center, it’s a holiday event you don’t want to miss,” D’Agostino said.