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"Madrigals at 40"
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IT IS GOOD TO BE MERRY
29 May 2007
Despite the fact that it seemed everyone was running around sporting T shirts with big signs that said XL, this weekend was not about a gathering of overweight people.
This was the weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Davis High's internationally celebrated Madrigal Choir.
Though the choir has been led for the past 13 years by Dr. Karen Gardias, the weekend was really to celebrate Dick Brunelle, the Madrigal Singers' founder and director of the group from 1966-93.
The group's web site explains why a 40th anniversary:
Dick doesn't always remember people's names any more, and his short-term memory is not what it used to be, but he was definitely moved by the weekend's activities, which began with a picnic on Saturday, following a marathon rehearsal for the 225+ singers who would be participating in Sunday's concert. Central Park was filled with singers and their families. For us, it was great reconnecting with so many people we hadn't seen in a long time and meeting the spouses and children of people we had known as young people, now adults with their own families.
I spoke with Dick as he was leaving Central Park at the end of the afternoon and he told me that his heart was very full.
Saturday's picnic was just the first act. The high point was a concert given by the combined group on Sunday afternoon. The setting was the gorgeous Mondavi Center on the UC Davis campus
From 2 p.m. until the concert itself at 4, there was a reception in the lobby, where we all enjoyed delicious sweets and had an opportunity to visit and to express our love and appreciation to Dick
My very favorite photo of the day is the one below, with a Madrigal singer, his wife, and his baby, wearing clothes made from her scraps of her father's costume.
(all photos, and others not used in this entry, can be seen in full size here)
Not everyone could fit into their old costumes. Those who had outgrown them (or no longer had them ― there were singers there from the 1966-67 class) wore black and those who could kinda sorta still fit managed to hold things together with safety pins (or leave the back unfastened).
At the appointed time we filed into the theatre and the concert began. Marta was part of the choir and said that the group had been sent CDs of the music and had literally only 2 run-throughs of each song. But they did a fabulous job. (We were not permitted to video during the concert, unfortunately, though I did get a snippet of Shenandoah)
It was such a wonderful, loving tribute. There were lots of tears, because it was so emotional. Dick was not able to make a statement, but his wife Edelgaard gave his thanks and thanked people who had helped keep the Madrigal Singers running over the years.
At the conclusion of the event, we said our goodbyes to Dick...
...and went with Marta, Ned and Marta's mother to dinner.
Then home to hungry puppies.
It was such an incredibly special weekend!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2616