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Tickets still available for FHSU's Madrigal Feaste

Special to The Hays Daily News

"Castles and feasting meet dinner theater" returns to Fort Hays State University's Memorial Union in the form of the annual Madrigal Feaste on Friday and Saturday.

Some seats still are available. Tickets -- $25 for FHSU students and $35 for the public -- can be purchased at the Memorial Union, room 208, or online at www.fhsu.edu/madrigal. No telephone orders will be taken, but for more information, call (785) 628-5308.

Modern-day madrigal dinners transport the audience to a fabulous medieval or renaissance ceremonial feast, said Terry Crull, FHSU choral director and director of the Madrigal Feaste.

"After Advent, a time of introspection and fasting, elaborate preparations were made for a truly festive event," Crull said. "It was a real celebration, with eating, drinking, dancing and even animals parading through the great halls of castles and manors."

The event provided an opportunity to visit and exchange news. Trumpet fanfares signaled the service of specific courses and dishes within the feast. Guests danced, told stories and sang in enthusiastic outbursts of merrymaking.

Madrigal singing began as entertainment in Renaissance Italy and quickly spread throughout Europe, Crull said. Madrigal singing reached the height of its popularity in Elizabethan England, where several collections of madrigals were printed in Queen Elizabeth's honor.

The university's Madrigal Feaste is produced by the Memorial Union and presented in partnership with Fort Hays Singers, led by Crull. The madrigal tradition at FHSU began in 1964.

"It's one of the most beloved and popular cultural traditions here," said Edie McCracken, director of Memorial Union.