Southside Singers ‘knock it out of the park’ with first Madrigal Extravaganza


Freshman Gabbi Schust acted as the queen in the “Madrigal Extravaganza.” Schust sings soprano in Southside Singers. Photo by Karina Kitchen

Karina Kitchen

Photo by Karina Kitchen
Photo by Karina Kitchen
While most freshmen probably stayed home churning through their latest homework assignment on a chilly Tuesday evening, 29 of the first ever freshman class at RBHS gathered in the school cafeteria dressed in Renaissance garb to put on the first annual Madrigal Extravaganza.
Southside Singers, the new all-freshmen choir, began learning six songs from the Renaissance period, three of which were in foreign languages, as soon as the school year started.
“Renaissance music fits freshmen voices really well,” Mike Pierson, choir director, said. “The [vocal] ranges [of Renaissance music] are right within where theirs are.  There’s not a ton of intricate harmony.  There’s not a ton of intricate rhythm, and it allows the voices to gel very quickly.”
Though Renaissance music and dancing were new to the majority of Southside Singers, the students still enjoyed the experience.
“At first I was a little bit unsure about what to think of it,” freshman Quinn Fullington said. “But once we got down to it, [and] we started to learn all the dances and everything, I started to have a lot of fun with it.”
Pierson agreed with the students. “They’ve had a…good time with it,” he said. “They took to the dancing fairly quickly.”
However, the students had mixed feelings about the costumes.
“They were a little apprehensive about the costuming,” Pierson said.
But before long, the enthusiasm for performing in the styles of the 15th century grew.
“Getting all dressed up was definitely the best part,” freshman Bailey Servey said.
All choir members were dressed by costumer Victoria Mongillo, who’s been involved in Renaissance reenactment for 15 years.  Costumes ranged from dresses fit for a princess to the attire of a gypsy or a pirate.  According to Mongillo, “about half [of the costumes] are…authentic…in the style of the costuming.”
Whether it was wearing ornate apparel together, learning unfamiliar songs together or dancing together, preparing the material for the “Madrigal Extravaganza” unified the singers and helped them form much needed friendships at school.
“They’re still getting used to high school and a lot of that is just feeling comfortable with themselves,” Pierson said. “We have a lot of fun and we don’t get too serious about it.”
Fullington and the other freshmen found Southside Singers to be a great place to become acquainted with students from three different junior highs.
“My favorite part was…getting to know everyone in my choir class and just making a bunch of new friends,” Fullington said.
As the program came to a close, Pierson beamed.
“They knocked it out of the park,” he said to the audience.
He congratulated his students on their successful performance and praised their hard work and talent.
“They’re very proud and are really happy with their accomplishments,” he said. [slideshow_deploy id=’254142′] By Karina Kitchen
Did you get to hear the Southside Singers? What was your favorite song?