Madrigal feast Returns to Blowing Rock
The choir of St. Mary of the Hills in Blowing Rock will present a musical and gastronomic treat, “The Revels of Winter,” on Dec. 2 and 3.
With four courses of medieval-style food and drink provided by Gideon Ridge Inn, madrigals and carols sung by the costumed choir as they serve spirits and comestibles, and original entertainment written and performed by the Jester and Wench, the evening promises to be one of amusement and revelry.
The entertainment is held in the Parish Hall of the church, transformed for the evening into a renaissance baronial hall, and this year is offered at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, Dec. 2 and 3.
Tickets are $60 per person. For reservations, call the church at (828) 295-7323 and send a check made payable to St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 14, Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605, specifying your requested performance date.
“The Revels of Winter” is the primary fundraiser for the St. Mary of the Hills Choir’s study trip to England. The choir has made regular trips to Cambridge since 1991 in order to study with several of the foremost directors of Anglican choral music, including George Guest at St. John’s College, Stephen Cleobury at King’s College and Tim Brown at Clare College.
The group has been choir-in-residence at Durham Cathedral in England twice, as well as the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York City; the choir has also represented the state of North Carolina at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Several former student choir members have gone on to careers as professional singers in opera, and in major church and cathedral choirs around the country.
The choir has recorded two CDs: “O Sapientia,” a collection of music for Advent, and “The Revels of Winter,” taken from the music performed that will be performed at the madrigal feast.
Although the group has performed many times with various chamber orchestras, its focus remains unaccompanied singing, and its heart is regular Sunday morning worship and monthly choral evensong in the ancient monastic tradition.