Performing the greatest hits of the 60's and 70's–of the 1500's that is–since 2007!

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: Marie Pellissier

Our 7th Annual Spring Concert is officially TOMORROW NIGHT! Which means it’s time for Part III of III of our “Goodbye Seniors” interviews! Part III features our wonderful Music Director/Co-President, Marie Pellissier!  Marie never fails to provide us with cow jokes, faulty arguments claiming that deep dish pizza is somehow better than New York pizza, and the delicious products of her amazing baking skills! So read below to check out the final installment of this year’s “Goodbye Seniors” interviews!

 

Fun Facts About Marie:

Voice Part: Alto/aspiring Tenor

Major: History, BA

Favorite Mads Piece: “When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy” by Matthew Harris

Other Campus Engagements: editor for Elements, Chorale, Presidential Scholar

Favorite Farm Animal: Cow (what a surprise…)

Dream Destination: a cabin in the woods in Colorado in the summer or London at any time of the year

Marie looking stunning, as always!

Marie looking stunning, as always!

 

Pamela Hickey: What made you decide to join Mads?

Marie Pellissier: Well I did madrigals in high school, and I really really loved madrigals in high school, so I was really excited to find out BC had a madrigals group.  But I thought as a freshman that maybe should try something else for a little while that wasn’t quite so- as my father put it- “dorky,” so I was a one-time member of the Screaming Eagles Marching Band, which I really didn’t enjoy and quit and joined Mads instead because I was really looking for a group of people that I felt comfortable around and that I could sing with that wasn’t a huge group like Chorale.

 PH: So did you join Chorale at the beginning of your freshman year?

MP: Yeah I joined chorale right away freshman year and I was doing Chorale and the marching band my first semester my freshman year, and second semester I quit marching band and was doing Mads and Chorale at the same time.  Chorale was fun but it was just so big that it felt really hard to make friends in Chorale.

 PH: Yeah it’s easy to get lost in chorale. 

MP: Yeah, I just had a hard time making friends right off the bat in Chorale and so I wanted something smaller and I knew other acappella groups were not for me because the idea of singing “do” and “da” over and over is better for warm-ups than for performance, in my opinion.  Also I just don’t have the type of voice that can sing pop songs really well so other acappella groups would not be for me.

PH: Yeah the people in the other acappella groups all have fantastic voices, but most of them wouldn’t sound good singing our type of music, just like we don’t sound good singing theirs.  I feel like it goes both ways.

MP: Yeah people in our group are better suited for our kind of music and the people in theirs are better suited for their type of music.  I just don’t have the strong belt-y kind of voice, that’s just not where my strength is.

PH: So you think that you like choral settings of music as opposed to pop/contemporary music?

MP: Oh definitely.

PH: Any particular reason why or is there anything special you hear in choral music?

MP: I think there’s just something in the collaborative nature of choral music as opposed to pop music that I just find really wonderful because in a choral piece everyone has their own part with their own independent line but no one line sounds nearly as good by itself as it does with all the others.  So you need the group to make the piece sound good.  Like, you can sing a pop song by yourself and make it sound good, but you can’t sing “A Boy and a Girl” or “Sicut Cervus” or really any choral piece by yourself.  Every part matters and every part matters just as much as every other part, so as much as we like to joke about sopranos being divas, you can’t get rid of the sopranos.  But conversely the sopranos would sound weird without the basses and the altos and tenors.

PH: Yeah I feel like it’d be rather one-dimensional.

MP: Right, so that’s sort of always drawn me to choral music ever since middle school and I just love being part of a group making music and I love being with other people making music.  The whole is always bigger than the sum of its parts with choral music and the group always ends up creating something so much more than what each individual puts in.  And the other thing is that many high school and college students are so focused on what will make them successful in the future and it’s nice to do something with other people that isn’t just a resume builder and requires true collaboration.  You join a group like this not because you’re trying to build your resume, but because you just want to have that collective experience of making beautiful music and beautiful art.  For me, choral performing has been an opportunity to be a part of a group where I just have to worry about being the best I can be for the sake of the group without feeling the pressure to try to make myself stand out or recognized individually.

PH: I like that. So you said that “When That” is your favorite piece that you’ve performed in Mads- is there any particular reason why?

MP: So I’ve sung “When That” literally the first 3 years I was in Mads because my freshman year, Jon conducted “When That,” “A Lover and His Lass,” and “This Marriage,” then we sang it for music outreach at a middle school my sophomore year, and then we recorded it my junior year.  It’s just been a part of almost every year I’ve been in Madrigals and is such a beautiful piece.  I would’ve brought it back this year but we didn’t have 4 voices on each part and I think people probably would have killed me.

PH: I wouldn’t have killed you!  I would sing a whole concert of just “When That” on repeat.

MP: I would sing a concert of “When That,” “Sicut Cervus,” and “When Daffodils Begin to Peer” on repeat.  I really like “Daffodils.”  I really like all the Matthew Harris pieces and I didn’t even know they existed before I joined Mads!  But yeah, “When That” is just associated with so many good memories for me that it can’t help but be my favorite.

 PH: On a related note, do you have a favorite Mads memory?

MP: Anthony and his dragon.  At the Christmas party my sophomore year, we did a secret santa- actually that whole party was just such a great party- and I think we were in Michael Lim’s mod.  So we were doing a secret santa and everyone just gave the best gifts.  Like that was the night that I had gotten the Shakespeare mug and the finger puppets and Jon got a tambourine.

PH: I gave him that tambourine!  I remember being a freshman who barely knew anyone and he was the only one who didn’t have a Facebook to suggest things he’d like and I had no idea what to get him.  Then he conveniently broke his tambourine so I got him a new tambourine.  And Anthony got me all those Hogwarts prefect badges, which was wonderful!  I still have them in my room.

MP: Right, and like Anthony had gone on and on about this stuffed green dragon that was really special to him and his girlfriend that was destroyed by an animal of some sort- so Anthony’s first green dragon was the victim of some terrible catastrophe and he said that the perfect secret santa gift would be a stuffed green dragon. (**SOCIAL COORDINATOR’S NOTE: his exact words were “you will be my new favorite person in the world ahead of Jay Z and my girlfriend”**) Lo and behold, he opens his secret santa present because Gloria had searched far and wide for a green dragon for Anthony.  And everyone was just so happy that Anthony was so happy and then we played some pretty epic Cards Against Humanity afterwards and it was just a really great party.  So that’s one of my favorite memories.

THE MOMENT ANTHONY RECEIVED HIS DRAGON!

THE MOMENT ANTHONY RECEIVED HIS DRAGON!

Also, I really liked the second recording session we did last year in Gasson 100 because of all these random circumstances that made it such a pain, like the guitar player and there was a 5k happening that morning but we somehow managed to make it work despite all these things that could have thrown the entire day off and we made a really great CD.  I especially remember recording “When That”… everything just clicked and it was great… so that’s another really great Madrigals memory.

PH: What makes Mads special/worth your time?

MP: The people in it.  I really have found an amazing group of friends in Mads.  And I think that what makes our group really special is- well, who else has guts to sing renaissance music in costume?!- but also that we all get along so well because everyone puts in effort to get to know each other and hang out outside of rehearsal.  We’re all friends without drama and knowing each other so well we work together really well in rehearsal.  The other thing is that, especially when I was an underclassmen, the amount of encouragement and support and unconditional friendship I got from the upperclassmen just by them being there for me and not judging me and never belittling my problems, especially during my second semester freshman year when I was going through a rough time, really meant a lot to me.  So Mads is worth my time now because I really love everyone in it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

PH: So now that you’re the upperclassmen, what advice do you have for underclassmen and future members?

MP: Don’t be afraid to be yourself around the people in the group and don’t be afraid to let the people in the group see when you’re vulnerable because they will come to your rescue when you need it.  And to everyone else in the group- make sure the group continues to be the group that will come to the rescue of the vulnerable underclassmen- or upperclassmen- should they find the bravery to show their vulnerability.

Oh also- join the group and stay in the group! :D

The Empress has spoken- join Mads! ;D

The Empress has spoken- join Mads! ;D

PH: So where do you hope the group will go, after you graduate?

MP: I’d like to see the group continue grow a bit more and see its membership get back up to 6-8 guys rather than 5.  8 would be ideal.  And I hope that you guys keep expanding in performance opportunities and the things you’re willing to do and just keep growing your presence on campus because we have so much to offer the BC community.  And since a lot of people don’t know we exist, what we have to offer doesn’t get out there as much as it should or could.  I know it’s going to be awesome and that next year’s e-board is going to be awesome!

PH: I certainly hope so! So do you think you’ll continue madrigals, or at least singing, after graduation?

MP: I definitely want to continue singing, I don’t know about madrigals specifically though because I think in the real world it’s hard to find groups like ours.  I would like to continue singing on a small scale, and next year will probably be a church choir but I’d like to eventually find a small chamber group to sing with.  I think I’d be a little bit adrift without singing.

PH: What are your post-graduation plans?

MP: I am going to be working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Nashville, Tennessee working at Catholic Charities of Tennessee as a refugee employment specialist helping recent refugees find jobs.  And the plan after that is to probably go to grad school for public history or museum studies and then eventually one day RUN THE SMITHSONIAN MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!  Basically.  Though I suspect I won’t get very far in the professional world if I end all my sentences with “MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA.”  Maybe I should try that in rehearsal… “Time to warm up guys MWHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!”

 

You wish you could look this cool

You wish you could look this cool

And that’s the Empress for you ;D We’re all going to miss you so much Marie and we really appreciate all the tremendous and incredible work you’ve put into this group throughout your 4 years here, and especially this year as our Music Director! We love you!!

Goodbye Seniors Part II: Michael Solah

Our Spring Concert is just two days away so that means it’s time for Part II of our “Goodbye Seniors” series! This installment features the one and only Michael Solah, who can always be counted on for his dedication, perfect attendance, and his amazing Cards Against Humanity skills (it’s always the quiet ones….)! Without further adieu, check out his interview below!

Michael being the regal king that he is

Michael being the regal king that he is


Fun Facts About Michael:

Voice Part: Bass

Major: Computer Science, BS

Favorite Mads Piece: “O Magnum Mysterium” by Victoria

Other Campus Engagements: WZBC, Music Outreach

Favorite Farm Animal: Donkey

Dream Destination: Norway or Alaska or somewhere icy like that

 

Pamela Hickey: What made you decide to join Mads?

Michael Solah: Honestly, one day I saw a poster in Lyons and at that point I felt like I really wasn’t doing enough on campus.  So I decided to try out because I like music a lot and I thought it seemed really cool and I thought the costumes seemed really cool, I really like costumes in general.  So yeah that’s basically it.  It was really like an impulse thing and I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it…

PH: Well you did and we’re all really glad we have you! So you said that your favorite piece that you’ve sung in Mads is “O Magnum.”  Is there any particular reason why?

MS: I just like the counterpoint in it a lot and I feel like that piece really exemplifies what a madrigal is and I just thought it was really peaceful. There are others I really like too- I really like “El Grillo” and I like “Sicut Cervus” and there’s another one that we’re doing this semester that I really like.  It just has a really nice cadence, I really like the entire piece but there’s this one part that’s just really great.  I can’t remember what it’s called though…

PH: Do you have a favorite Mads memory?

MS: The first or second social gathering when we started playing Cards Against Humanity, that was just really fun.  I’ve done a lot of other groups on campus for like a semester or a year, but I feel that Madrigals is a lot more united and it’s a lot more personal than other groups and I really like that a lot.  I really like WZBC but there are so many people there and it’s more like you just see the people every once in a while and it’s different.

PH: Yeah I feel like in Mads everyone is friends with each other and really gets to know each other.

MS: Yeah I feel like the group is like really close.

PH: Yeah I completely agree.  So what makes Mads worth your time?

MS: The people.  Like everyone is really great and I think it’s a really good group.  Second, the music.  There isn’t another group on campus like it and I think the music is really cool.  And third, I think it’s just really fun.  It’s worth my time because it’s a lot of fun and the music is great, but really the main thing is the people.

PH: Yeah I agree, I feel like even if I liked the music and didn’t like the people then it wouldn’t be worth my time.

MS: Yeah like I imagine Chorale is probably cool and it’d be cool to sing big-choir pieces, but I just like the friendly, intimate atmosphere of Mads.

PH: Yeah I mean I’m in both and I prefer the smaller size and intimacy of Mads, though it is cool to get to sing things like Mozart’s Requiem and Schubert’s Mass in G.

MS: Yeah I kind of wish I’d joined and I know John Finney is an amazing director, but I really like Mads and I’m glad I joined.

PH: Me too! So do you have any advice for future members or underclassmen?

MS: I’d say just be confident when you sing, because that’s always something I’ve always had trouble with.  And I’d say really try to get to know everyone in the group.  I think one of the things that work so well with Madrigals is that we all work so well together.  Just don’t be afraid to sing out and make mistakes because that’s how you learn and improve.  I hope I’m not being too cheesy…

PH: No not at all!  It’s kind of a cheesy question so it’s fine.

MS: Yeah and I mean a lot of things are considered cheesy because they’re true!  But yeah, I think the biggest thing is just don’t be afraid to sing out.

 PH: Yeah I agree I’ve always felt nervous about making mistakes and singing incorrect notes in rehearsal, but as I’ve gotten to know everyone in the group more I felt less self-conscious that people were judging my mistakes and just let myself have fun singing with everyone.

MS: Yeah and another thing is that I sing the bass part, the low notes make me feel inclined to sing low volume as well so that’s something I need to work on.

PH: Yeah I agree I always feel the urge to sing high notes loudly and low notes softly.

MS: Yeah I understand the feeling.  Well, I’d just say that anyone who’s interested should definitely audition for Madrigals because they’d be joining an awesome group!

The king has spoken: join the Madrigal Singers!

The king has spoken: join the Madrigal Singers!

PH: So where do you hope the group will go, after you graduate?

MS: Well I hope for a lot of the same as it’s been, in terms of the group just sticking together.  That being said, I think it’d be cool if the group has more events on campus or sings in more events on campus.  Like Nick wanted us to sing at the SEASA culture show, and I think doing stuff like that would be cool.  I know we prepare a lot of music and I’m fine with just our concerts and Artsfest and the other small things we do off campus and stuff, but I think doing more events like Nick’s culture show and music outreach stuff would be cool.  The times we’ve gone to sing at schools were fun.  But mostly I’d just say keep the group unity strong and everyone stay enthusiastic about the music.  I think being innovative with the music would be cool but at the same time keep true to the core of the group. That might just be me being nostalgic but yeah I’d like the group to stay close and passionate about the music we make.

 PH: Do you think you’ll continue madrigals, or at least singing, after graduation?

MS: I really want to because I’ve just gotten so accustomed to it the past few years.  But honestly I’m not sure if I’ll find another group like this, so I’m not sure if I will.  I really want to though.

 PH: What are your post-graduation plans?

MS: I’d like to work in Boston for a year and then after that get a masters in Computer Science.  My ultimate goal is to eventually get a Ph.D because I really want to be a professor someday.  Maybe I’ll go back home [to Ecuador] but I’d like to stay in Boston.  I really like Boston.

PH: So did you live in Ecuador your whole life until college?

MS: Yeah, I would come to the states a lot to visit family, like most summers I would visit family in New York.

PH: What made you decide to come to school in Boston?

MS: I actually applied to BC not knowing how good of a school it was.  I actually originally intended to go to Reed College in Oregon, but they had a really strange CS program with very few students and so I talked to my family and a lot of them recommended BC.   And after looking into Reed more I found that they had a very high dropout rate and their culture was a little crazy, and BC had a better CS program and Boston is a good place for CS.  Initially freshman year was really hard for me and it wasn’t until sophomore year that I started really liking it here.  But looking back I’m really happy that I came to BC and not to Reed.

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We’re happy that you came to BC, too, Michael!  You’re such an integral part of the group and we’re all going to miss you so much and wish you the best of luck and happiness in the future!

Goodbye Seniors Part I: Ashley Tran

So it’s that time of year again- our Spring Concert is approaching, finals are around the corner, and we have to come to terms with the fact that our seniors will be leaving us… *cue funeral dirge*

Our seniors! From left to right: Ashley, Michael, Marie

Our seniors! From left to right: Ashley, Michael, Marie

So to honor the seniors and continue the tradition that Anthony Marte started in his tenure as Social Coordinator two years ago I will be publishing a series of “Goodbye Seniors” interviews! Part I of III features our Administrative Chair/Co-President, Ashley Tran!  Ashley has been an integral part of the group since the first semester of her freshman year and can always be counted on for cute animal photos, her awesome sweaters, and making everyone laugh.  We’ll all miss her so much when she’s gone!

Fun Facts About Ashley:

Voice Part: Soprano/Quintus/Alto/Floater

Major: Biology BS, Premed

Favorite Mads Piece: “When That I Was and a Little Tiny Boy” by Matthew Harris

Other Campus Engagements: biology research, facilitator in Prison Arts Outreach, Chorale, volunteer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Favorite Farm Animal: Do llamas count? Llamas.

Dream Destination: Sydney, Australia, minus the scorpions

 

Pamela Hickey: What made you decide to join Mads?

Ashley Tran: I did Madrigals in high school but by the time I’d joined it, it wasn’t really a traditional madrigals group it was just a small choir at that point.  So I’d decided that I wanted to keep doing small choir-type stuff that would allow me to sing non-pop songs in a more intimate setting than Chorale, and I knew Mads would give me that opportunity even though I didn’t really have a clear understanding of what a traditional madrigals group really was and so didn’t really know what to expect when I joined Mads. I actually did not know that we wore costumes… Funny story- at the Involvement Fair I saw Gloria and everyone in their costumes and I was like “who are these weirdos wearing costumes?!” …and then I joined them, so that was awkward.  I found out that we wear costumes after I joined and they were like “Oh we’re going to have to get you your costume for Acappellafest” and I was like “Whaaat…?”

PH: If you’d known there were costumes would you still have auditioned?

AT: Yeah probably, in all honesty.  So for Acappellafest I ended up wearing the costume that Michele has now and it was way too big for me so it was a good thing I was wearing another dress underneath it.  It was interesting.

Ashley has embraced her costume and loves her costume deep down.  Don't let her tell you otherwise.

Ashley has embraced her costume and loves it deep down. Don’t let her tell you otherwise.

PH: So you said that your favorite piece you’ve sung in Mads is “When That”- any particular reason why?

AT: Well I think it definitely pushed us as a group, and I mean the ending is obviously very difficult.  We also did outreach with that song- we taught it at a middle school during my sophomore year which I thought was cool and I think we’ve just gotten a lot of use out of that song and it’s just impressive.

PH: Yeah Marie said something like she has so many memories associated with that song that it can’t not be her favorite.

AT: Yeah, well my reason is a little more utilitarian but that’s alright :P

PH: Speaking of memories, do you have any favorite Mads memories?

AT: My freshman year we took a trip to Wesleyan to perform with a group there and that was fun.  And just in general going to Late Night after rehearsals.  It’s kind of become a sort of tradition to go to Late Night after Mads rehearsals and that’s kind of where we all start to get to know each other.  My freshman year when I had a meal plan I was buying everyone food, and so I ran out of my meal plan really quickly…

This isn’t really like a “favorite” memory but it is memorable anyway.  The most tragic memory was probably the day Peter left.  Peter leaving really was tragic, because we actually hung out a lot and got pretty close the summer right before he left and it didn’t hit me until the night he left Boston and I went back to my apartment and I was just there by myself and I was just so sad because it finally sunk in that he was gone and wasn’t going to be coming back to Mads in the Fall…

PH: What makes Mads worth your time/meal plan?

AT: It’s not.  No I’m kidding!  It’s just that, you know, you have a group of people that are all very passionate about the music that we sing and it’s great to be able to work with people who are as into what you’re doing as you are.  And also everyone is so quirky and fun and no one takes themselves too seriously and we’re all different yet similar in certain ways.  And I really do feel like we’re a group where no one judges anyone and obviously we all enjoy the music.  But even if I got to sing the music but hated the people it wouldn’t be worth it.

PH: So do you have any advice for future members/current underclassmen?

AT: Show up on time and bring your music!  And, you know, you’re always shy in the beginning but Mads is definitely a group that’s very open to everyone so I guess my advice would be don’t hold back and let Mads be the space where you can be whoever you want to be and know that everyone is going to accept you for that.  So I think that you would definitely get the most out of it if you just go in and not, you know, hold back.

But actually- bring your music.  It does really drive me insane when people don’t bring their music because when a whole section doesn’t have their music it kind of puts a damper on things!

You wouldn't want to put a damper on that beautiful smile, would you?!

You wouldn’t want to put a damper on that beautiful smile, would you?!

PH: Where do you hope the group will go, after you graduate?

AT: I’d like to see the group have more of a presence on campus.  I think that’s our biggest thing, where as much as we love the music we do, part of our thing is to try to share the music we do and our passion with other people and it can be frustrating when you feel like other people aren’t listening but I think that if people were to actually stop and listen and take the time to get to know our group then they would really enjoy it as much as we do.  I’d just like to see us reach a larger audience be taken as a bigger part of campus in the future.

PH: Do you think you’ll continue madrigals, or at least singing, after graduation?

AT: Realistically, probably not, because it’s hard to commit to a choir when you have to be a functioning person, especially when it’s no longer right at your doorstep like it is on a college campus.  So I’ll probably be sticking to singing in the shower and such.

PH: What are your post-graduation plans?

AT: I’m going to work in New York for a while and then see if I still want to go to med school.  If I do then I’ll go to med school or if not then maybe get my Ph.D.  Or just become a manic pixie dream girl or a muse. Learn how to paint and become the world’s best body painter.  Oh, juggle! Learn how to juggle and become a carnie, even though I’m not entirely sure what a carnie is… Become Ben or Jerry!  Are Ben and Jerry even real people?  I feel like we’ve been lied to because Mike and Ike aren’t real people…  They actually had a whole campaign pretending that Mike and Ike broke up.  It was dumb. You know, I think my issue with interviews is that it’s really hard to know when to stop talking….

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We’re going to miss you so much, Ashley! We wish you the best of luck in happiness in everything that you do!

7th Annual Spring Concert: How Can I Keep From Singing?

We’re excited to announce that our 7th Annual Spring Concert: How Can I Keep From Singing? will be on Wednesday, April 29th at 8pm in St. Mary’s Chapel at Boston College! It will be the last Mads performance for our three graduating seniors—Marie Pellissier, Ashley Tran, and Michael Solah—so come out and bring all your friends to help us make their last concert their most memorable!  And stay tuned for their “Goodbye Seniors” interviews!

FINAL

Next Year’s E-Board!

The votes are cast, the ballots are counted, and we’re excited to announce our new E-Board for the 2015-2016 school year!!

President: Michele Becker, ’16
Music Director: Josh Seo, ’17
Treasurer: Jason Kerestes, ’17
Social Coordinator: Pamela Hickey, ’16

Congratulations to the new officers! It was a very close race and we know that everyone who ran would’ve done an excellent job. We wish everyone could win!

And Our Newest Member is….

…none other than Justin Lee, tenor and BC ’17!  A huge warm welcome and congratulations to Justin!  We’re all super excited to make beautiful music all together this semester!

Eric Whitacre is just as excited as we are!

Eric Whitacre is just as excited as we are!

 

Thank you to everyone who came out and auditioned for us! You are all amazing and talented singers, but we unfortunately could not take everyone.  Please keep singing and audition for us again in the Fall!

Spring 2015 Auditions!!

We’re so excited to be back on campus for the spring semester and making beautiful music together once more! And we’re pleased to announce that our Spring 2015 auditions will take place on Friday, January 23rd, 5-7pm, and on Saturday, January 24th, 12-5pm on the 4th floor of Lyons Hall! Tell all your friends, and we hope to see you there!

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