You have landed at the website/blog of the Madrigal Singers of Boston College, BC's student-run group dedicated to performing high-quality chamber choral works with roots in and around the Renaissance. Although we specialize in madrigals and motets, we have been known to perform some more contemporary settings now and then. Our group attracts members from many different musical backgrounds with varying levels of experience--however, all of our members share (at least) one common thread: we all have a passion for bringing the choral art to life and having lots of fun in the process.

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Goodbye Seniors Part III: Gloria Kostadinova, Opera Star turned Madrigal

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Marie here again! This time, I sat down at the Chocolate Bar with Gloria Kostadinova, our only lady graduating this year. Her angelic voice will be sorely missed in the soprano section–read on to find out more! 

MP: So you started with Mads your freshman year?

GK: Yeah, I’ve been in since the beginning! I mean, I’ve always been involved in singing—in high school, and I guess in middle school as well. But you know middle school choir… My little sister is in chorale now, with the same teacher.

MP: So how many siblings do you have? Why have I never asked you these questions??

GK: Well, now’s the perfect time! [laughs] I have two little sisters—one of them is going on 13, she’s the one taking choir, and the other one just turned 11. A lot younger than me…

MP: So did your high school have madrigals?

GK: No, unfortunately! My high school, their music program was not as developed as other school districts, I’d say. In recent years, they’ve gotten a lot better. My music teacher was like an unfulfilled rock star, wanted us to do a rock band. So I did chorale and show choir, which was a smaller group, more jazzy, like the Beatles but more modern versions. Actually, I think it was my sophomore or junior year, I became involved with BOP, which stands for Brown Opera Productions, at Brown University. My dad, he’s part time faculty at Brown Medical School, and he gets a lot of newsletters and things, and he came home one day and was like “Hey! I got this email from one of the groups, I think you’ll really enjoy this, you should totally try out!” I wasn’t sure if I could try out, because I wasn’t a Brown student, but I tried out, and I ended up getting a chorus part in their production of L’elisir d’amore, which is an Italian opera, and I loved it! It was acting and singing, and that’s kind of where my classical flairs started. And that’s where Mads comes in, because BC doesn’t have an opera program really—they have that thing that Josh was talking about—

MP: That we’ve never heard of… It’s not a big thing.

GK: So Mads was the closest to opera, and I tried out freshman year…. I auditioned with O mio babbino caro. So yeah, that’s where I started!

MP: Awesome! So were you also on that fateful New York trip?

GK: No, I wasn’t, actually! So whenever people make references to it I just sort of go oh… that stinks? I don’t remember the reason I didn’t go, I must have had some other school engagement or something… It was definitely an epic trip that won’t be forgotten…

MP: No, because they won’t stop talking about it! Anything goes wrong and they go “Oh, New York again.”

So you joined freshman year—do you have a favorite madrigal occurrence?

GK: I remember when we did our first CD recording—when Kayleigh and Rob were still in charge—we did it on Brighton Campus, I don’t remember what the space is called—the creepy big house on the hill…

MP: The Cardinal’s Residence?

GK: Yes! We were there, and I remember it was the longest recording session ever…. It was my first, but it was still the longest, and I remember, I had gotten laryngitis in the middle of recording, and it was just a struggle…

MP: [ruefully] I know how that feels…

GK: Yeah, exactly! Just like that last time… It was a really cool space because it was a little more homey than the church we were in last time, and there’s a picture of us on Facebook, we’re all laying on the floor sleeping, sleeping bag style, and everyone just looked so dead, miserable, but it was fun. It was a really great bonding experience, struggling through physical hardships and creating something. That’s a moment that sticks out in my mind, for sure.

MP: That’s great. What about a favorite song?

GK: I really enjoyed when Katie Weintraub was here—we did these songs in Russian—Bogoroditse Djevo. I liked those because they were really different but still madrigal-sounding, they were really fun. I guess it’s cool to do more “ethnic-sounding” pieces, but I don’t know how ethnic madrigals can get…

MP: I think the most ethnic madrigals can get is Russian….

GK: Maybe you can throw in some for next year, when you’re thinking of your repertoire…

MP: We’ll see! I’m nervous…

GK: You’ll be fine! Mads has been around for how long now? 6 years? I think it’s incredible—just in comparison to all the other a cappella groups—it’s something that drew me to Mads as well. Mads has such an interesting dynamic, as all a cappella groups arguably have their own unique thing, but mads even more so—you can’t judge a book by it’s cover! I think that’s the quote I would use for mads—maybe freshman year, at the beginning of the semester, I maybe judged the book a little too harshly…

MP: What do you mean?

GK: I don’t know… I was influenced by comparing Mads to other a cappella groups. You know, being a freshman, being new to college and everything, you’re a little more insecure and self-conscious of things than you probably should be. I also was dating someone who was in another a cappella group, who was super into all the traditions and all the other things that the other a cappella groups on campus stand for, and I was self-conscious. I remember thinking, oh, I wish I had that connection with Mads. But I think my friendships and connections with Mads have definitely grown over the years, and it’s a steady process. Just like more natural friendships do form, you know? You’re not going to be best friends from the first moment you meet these people. It takes time getting to know the quirks and idiosyncrasies of everyone!

MP: For sure! Goodness knows we’ve got plenty of idiosyncrasies!

GK: Absolutely! And I think those are beautiful things that take time to appreciate, and for people to open up to you, and I’ve come to really love everyone for those things. Now, upon graduation, I can say that people in Mads were some of my best friends and some of the greatest people I’ve met here at BC. May not have been eager to say that the first moment I entered, but I said it took time, and it was definitely worth it!

MP: So was there any one moment, beyond the recording session at the Cardinal’s Residence, that you felt the group click?

GK: Hmmm… I don’t know. I don’t know if I can pinpoint one moment, but there are instances in rehearsals that I’ll just be a little more meditative, and reserved, and just observe everyone and just really appreciate everyone and what they do—In a non-creepy way! I’ll stare at Jon conducting, you know, Louie singing, or someone learning music together, asking questions, and those are the moments when I think, I’m a part of this amazing group. These are really talented people, and I’m part of their group! I can’t give you a specific moment, but it’s moments like that when you just observe anyone putting out their talent for everyone to see that are just great.

MP: This is a little bit redundant, but do you have a favorite thing about Mads? Not necessarily a moment or a person or a song, but just in general… What makes this group so special, do you think?

GK: I think that Mads is unique in the sense that we really are all about the music. Of course we have fun, and we have our social gatherings, and our bonding, but our rehearsals are the most productive when we are focused, when we’re learning our music and we’re dedicated to the piece that we’re working on in that present moment. Yeah, we have silly moments, when people are feeling tired and not focused at all, but I think that’s what sets us apart, that everyone is involved in so many different things. We have such different lives and different social groups and different paths but our passion and dedication to this music is what brings us together. And I think that almost reflects what BC is like—BC has so many different kinds of people, you know, you have your conservative students, you have your liberal students, but they’re really well rounded. And I think that people in Mads are really well-rounded individuals. In every sense of the word! [laughs]

MP: That’s awesome! So do you have any advice for future madri-gals or madri-guys?

GK: I would have to say… Don’t let those initial judgments deter you from immersing yourself in the group and jumping in. Yes, we wear silly costumes, but those are what make Mads so fun. Don’t take yourself as seriously, even though we take our music seriously. I think those moments, those silly things, the fun in the costumes, that’s what brings joy and levity to Mads, and I would say just embrace that. Embrace all those qualities in Mads and make beautiful music!

MP: Are you going to continue singing madrigals in the future?

GK: No, no… [laughs]

MP: Are you going to continue singing in the future?

GK: Yeah. I really want to! For everyone who has this talent—I recently watched this documentary called 20 Feet from Stardom

MP: Oooh, the one about the backup singers! Didn’t that win an Oscar?

GK: I’m not sure, but if you haven’t watched it, you totally should. It is so moving, and grounding, and insightful, as a singer, as someone who has considered music as a profession…. It’s something that the documentary said: not everyone is a singer. Sometimes you think, everyone has a voice, but not everyone has that talent that for whatever reason you were born with. And it’s almost your duty, your calling to share it.

MP: Speaking of professions… Do you know what you’re doing after graduation?

GK: Well, I’m not sure. I’m going to be, at least for the summer, at home in Rhode Island, finishing my paid internship. But my next destination is probably going to be Washington, D.C. It’s a great city, and I’ve visited so many times, but haven’t had the chance to live there. And that’s where my non-profits, policy work—that’s the center of it all! So, we’ll go from there!

MP: Thanks so much, Gloria!

Goodbye Seniors Part II: Anthony “Green Dragon” Marte


Marie here again! This is part II of our “Goodbye Seniors” series, which was started by this guy, Anthony Marte! I sat down with Anthony in the Chocolate Bar and we had a nice long chat about why he joined Mads, his favorite songs, and where he’s headed after BC!  IMG_2268

MP: We’re just chatting. We can just chat about Mads! So, why did you sign up for this in the first place?

AM: Well, truth be told, I just always thought Jon was really dreamy. [laughs] And I just wanted to be next to him [more laughs]

MP: You have a girlfriend! [more laughs] who you’re clearly head over heels for.

AM: Yes, yes, print that. Print all of that! [laughs]

But seriously, I was in it in high school, and it was a big part of my high school life. Initially—I think I’ve told you this—initially, freshman year of high school, I was not about that life. I was in chorus, I was in the school chorus, but like, the whole tights thing, it wasn’t working for me. But then my chorus teacher, whom I love very much, who I respect, who I owe a lot to, forced me to be into it, against my will…

MP: Yes, I can see 14-year-old Anthony resisting…

AM: And my girlfriend was also in the group, that made it easier. And then I just sort of fell in love with it. It was a different kind of music, it was very beautiful, and I was really good at it, and it was just a lot of fun.

MP: So, you just decided that you wanted to keep doing it at BC?

AM: Right! I actually made sure that BC had a Madrigal group before I really decided to go here. I was pretty set on going here, and then I looked up a list of clubs, and I said, oh yeah, this is definitely my school. I really liked Madrigals in high school and I wanted to continue it here.

MP: How has it been different here that it was at your high school?

AM: We’re a lot better than it was at my high school! And despite some of the attendance problems that we have….

MP: Which aren’t that bad, really!

AM: Which really aren’t that bad—in high school it was a lot worse. It was an after school extra curricular, you had to stay until 6 two days a week… I guess in high school it was a lot more difficult for people to commit—they had other things going on and stuff. But here, it’s a lot more fun! I’m closer to you guys than I ever was to my group in high school.

MP: Do you have a favorite Madrigal memory from your time at BC?

AM: Well, my favorite Madrigal moment was my sophomore year… In the winter. Katie Weintraub invited us to her house because we were going to do something at her church that weekend. We all went to her house—not all of us, maybe 6 or 7 of us, and we slept over. Theron was there, Sara Schulz was there, Katie was there, of course. And we all slept in the basement of Katie’s house! It was really cool—they had sleeping bags and a couch all set up in the basement and everything, her mom was there—her mom was the sweetest person, she was always very supportive of us. And then we played board games, we played Taboo, and everyone had a really good time! And that was the first moment in Madrigals when I really felt accepted, that I actually felt that these were people I could be myself around, that I could joke around with them, that we could all have fun together. And from then on I haven’t really felt uncomfortable around Madrigals. That was my favorite. My all-time favorite. When you finally feel accepted by a group, there’s nothing like that.

MP: That’s awesome. That’s so awesome. What about a favorite Madrigal song?

AM: It’s gotta be O Magnum. It’s too pretty! I did it in high school…

MP: It’s too pretty! You can’t not like it, it’s too pretty!

AM: Yeah, you know! You wish you had a better answer—it’s like, what’s your favorite band? The Beatles. What’s your favorite madrigal? O Magnum.

MP: It’s funny, that’s what Louie said for his favorite song too.

AM: It’s a very simple answer, but I think it’s the best song we’ve ever done!

MP: Do you have a favorite Christmas carol that we do?

AM: [sighs] I always hated the Christmas carols!

MP: [shocked] Why?

AM: Well, they always came in these little booklets and you had to flip the paper, and read it, and it was a pain.

MP: Well, do you have a favorite song we do in the winter?

AM: [laughing] O Magnum.

MP: That’s not O Magnum! [laughs] Broadening out from O Magnum…

AM: Well, I think my favorite would have to be…. What’s your favorite?

MP: I’m not going to tell you, I don’t want you to be biased!

AM: Oh, In Dulci Jubilo! Just listening to the three people who do the solos, it’s a treat for me and I can sit back and listen. It’s nice, because you get to become part of the audience, and enjoy the work that’s gone into it, just for a few short seconds.

MP: So what are you doing with your life? Do you see madrigals continuing to be part of your life post-graduation?

AM: No.

MP: Are you sad about that?

AM: I’m sad about it because I’ve built relationships through Madrigals. I still keep in touch with some of my madrigals people from high school, and I expect to keep in touch with all of you at BC!

MP: Of course!

AM: That’s actually what I’m most sad about—I’m going to not be with the people that I’ve built strong relationships with through the music. But madrigals won’t be a part of my life post-college.

MP: Do you know where you’re going, what you’re doing next?

AM: Yeah, yeah! This summer, I’m applying to medical school, so I’m going to do that all summer, and in August, I begin basic training academy for City Year. It’s a nationwide program—they’re in all sorts of cities, New York, Boston, Chicago—and they essentially put young people to be TA’s in public school in Brooklyn, so we help out these kids that are going through things, we do after school programs for them, before school programs, tutoring…

MP: You’re going to be so good at that!

AM: I hope so! So that’s what I’m doing next school year—August to June—and then hopefully going to med school. I’m very nervous about the children.

MP: I think you’re going to be a natural!

AM: You want them to like you so bad, but then they definitely put you in situations where you have to be the authority figure—running after school programs and things—so I’m nervous! What if the kids don’t like me?

MP: I think they’re going to love you! Anthony, I think you’re going to be really good at that!

AM: I remember being a little kid, and I remember hating the teacher or the substitute or whoever.

MP: I was just thinking, you’re going to be a really good doctor. You’re such a people person, and you’re such a nice guy, that I feel like you can’t go wrong. Do you know what kind of medicine you want to do?

AM: Either orthopedic surgery or pediatrics.

MP: I was hoping you’d say pediatrics! I think you’re going to rock this City Year and I could totally see you as a pediatrician!

AM: They’re very different, they’re not similar at all…

MP: If you were a pediatrician, I’d bring my kids to see you.

AM: Yeah, it’d be awesome!

MP: You’re going to be a great doctor! So, do you have any advice for future madri-guys or madri-gals?

AM: Wow, that’s a loaded question. Don’t lose your costume [laughs].

Never, ever be afraid to sing out. And that’s more than just in rehearsal, don’t be afraid to express your sound—if you don’t like the direction, don’t be afraid to speak up about it. If you have a good idea, don’t be afraid to speak up about it! And in all facets of life, make your voice heard. Do something! And… that’s it, that’s all I got!

MP: Any funny madrigal stories you’d like to share?

AM: I should have known this was coming! Why didn’t I prepare?

MP: Because I wanted to see what you would tell me on the fly!

AM: Oh whoa. I really want to come up with a good answer for you…. I think it was last semester—so you were abroad! Funny story…. The whole semester I’d been teasing Michelle about how Peter abandoned us and she’ll never see him again, and how he hated her

MP: Which he didn’t, of course!

AM: He didn’t, of course… or so we think! [laughs] He did abandon us, after all. And so I kept telling her, [talking like Yoda] “He left you! He doesn’t like you! He abandoned you!” So Jon or Louie had organized Peter to Skype in from Philadelphia, because Jon wanted to ask him to arrange a piece for us, and he Skyped in at the end. But Jon only told us, “Oh hey, Peter’s Skyping in,” five minutes before rehearsal ended. Michelle was like “Oh noooo! I have to goooo!” and she had to leave. And I took a selfie with Peter and sent it to everyone and she was heartbroken. So was Ashley.

MP: Any other things you want preserved in blog-dom forever?

AM: I have one regret.

MP: And what is that one regret, Anthony?

AM: I regret never starting a blog for all of the Jon-isms that happen during rehearsal.

MP: [Laughs] Lasers!

AM: I had a whole list on my old phone, I intended to, but I just never got around to it! All of them… the unicorn thing, the lasers, shooting needles… Breathe the diaphragm into your groin… They’re part of the reasons we all love Jon, and I wish I could share that with the world!

MP: I mean, there’s still time…

AM: Yeah, he’s gotta come up with new material…

MP: Thanks so much!

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Goodbye Seniors, Part 1: Louis Fantini–A Man of Many Tights

 

Hi everybody! Marie, your social coordinator, here. I’ve decided to follow in Anthony’s footsteps and do a series of blog posts on our dearly beloved, departing seniors. So, to kick things off, I sat down with Louis “the whaler” Fantini, whose last communication with the officer board was that he was heading out to the open ocean to hunt some whales. Luckily, that was an April Fool’s joke. We chatted about Mads and memories and why singing is the best! photo

MP: Do you have any high school madrigal stories?

LF: I actually never did madrigals in high school. We had a choir, and I had sung some madrigals, but I had never heard the term until I audition for the Madrigals here.

MP: So why’d you audition for the madrigals?

LF: Funny story, actually. I was walking around, lost, adrift at sea, a lonely freshman on student activities day—this is back when it was actually called student activities day, so it was like, “Come to SAD”—that’s why they changed it, now it’s like the student involvement fair, SIF or something like that. But yeah, so I was wandering around, and I wanted to audition for singing stuff, but I wasn’t super into a cappella, like college a cappella stuff, and I’m wandering around, and groups are saying “You should do our hip hop a cappella!” and I’m saying “Nah, that’s ok.” And then someone yells “Hey sideburns guy!” and I turned around, and naturally there’s Dan Accardi. He’s wearing the headband that Kayleigh used to wear—the blue and gold one—I turned, and I see Dan Accardi, who’s wearing this thing, and I said, “What’s up, beard guy?” He said, “Do you like to sing?” and I said “Yeah, I do like to sing!” and then Kayleigh descended and was telling me all about Mads and how it’s classical chamber a cappella and I was like “Oh, that’s awesome!” So I tried out and I got in and the rest is history, as they say.

MP: Nice. I can very much envision Dan Accardi doing exactly what you just described!

LF: Yes, and I’m glad he did, cause God knows what my entire college experience might have been like without that very fateful hair-themed intervention in my life!

MP: So you were all over the tights thing from the beginning?

LF: I’m very pro-tights. My deep, dark Madrigals secret is that sometimes I wear tights in the winter, under my jeans, when it’s cold out… it’s just long underwear.

MP: So when we’re trying to decide costumes or pro-costumes…

LF: I am almost unilaterally pro-costumes!

My freshman year, we were all doubled down on costumes. If we were doing anything, we were wearing costumes. I remember we sang at the tree lighting, we had to wear the costumes, and as you know, they’re not very warm, at all. And mine is particularly drafty, because it’s basically just a big, smock-y tunic thing, so I was freezing.

MP: Do you have any particularly special Madrigal memories?

LF: Well, that last concert—Dan’s last concert—was a totally great memory. That was when it was Dan, Peter, Jon and I were the tenors—

MP: We had a badass tenor section that year—

LF: It was so much fun! We were all there from the beginning, we were all super super tight, and we got emotional up there. That was a good one.

Aside from that, the fabled New York trip of yore was… Oh my God. Just—Is this what college is? It was November of my freshman year and we were just wandering around New York without a place to sleep and it was totally crazy. In hindsight, a lot of fun. I’m glad we did it—it was totally a weirdly formative experience. Adventure is out there, I suppose.

Jon and I still make jokes about New York! Showing up, BC hasn’t paid for the hotel, calling and calling… oh my God, it was crazy. The wallet, the infamous wallet… Never to be spoken of…

MP: What happened to the wallet?

LF: Oh, it’s just a colloquial term we ascribed to this thing… Chris Asmar made best friends with this Italian family that was visiting—we saw them as we were getting on the train close to the hotel. They proceeded to get on the train with us and follow us to where we were singing and sit and watch us sing. They hung out with us for an hour at least, and at the end of it they gave Chris ten bucks and he said “I guess we can get pizza with this” and that was referred to as “the wallet.” It was a good time.

MP: Do you have a favorite song, from the last four years of Madrigal repertoire?

LF: That’s incredibly difficult! Mmm… Umm… O Magnum, historically, has been one of my all time favorite songs to sing. We sang that my freshman year, and my senior year, so that’s pretty cool. El Grillo, has, in my time here, become “our song,” so naturally I’m attached to that. Also Il Bianco—I might like the one we sang my freshman year—the newer one—it’s cool to sing both versions. I like madrigal madrigals, because they’re long and sprightly, but then the more difficult stuff—we sang There Will Be Rest my freshman year, which was difficult, but it was very good. Yeah, probably those.

MP: Any advice for future Madri-guys and Madri-gals?

LF: Own it, most importantly! Totally do it and totally own it and just have fun. That’s the most important thing, to have fun. Because if you’re having fun you’re performing at your best.

This has been the best thing I’ve done at college, and as a result, I totally recommend that everybody do it!

Songs of the Solstice: Winter Concert!

Don’t miss The Madrigal Singers of Boston College Christmas concert: Song of the Solstice! Your favorite Christmas carols will be performed, along with some great music from the Renaissance Period! 

When: Wednesday, December 11th at 7:30pm

Where: The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry Chapel: 9 Lake Street, Brighton, MA

Admission is free and this is a great way to get into the Christmas Spirit!Image

Congratulations New Members!

Congrats to everyone who will be joining us in the Madrigal Singers this semester! We can’t wait to get singing!

Soprano

Jean Park

Robin Reich

Emily Scala

 

Alto:

Susan Matassa

Ava Tessitore

 

Tenor

Lo Tzu (Nick) Ning

Kyung won (Josh) Seo

 

Bass

Marshall Pontrelli

Michael Solah

 

AUDITIONS TODAY, 7pm!

Hi everyone! Today is our first day of auditions. If you wish to try out (which we know you do…) come to the 4th floor of Lyons between 7 and 8:30pm and sing us anything you want… My Country ‘Tis of Thee, The Star Spangled Banner, or an excerpt from a favorite pop song…anything will do! We hope to see you there!

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Audition Times!

Audition Times!

Hope to see you there!

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