By Amber Kennedy

For the first time, an Old Dominion University tradition - the holiday concert by the Madrigal Singers - will be in an outdoor setting that harkens back to the Old World traditions of holiday markets. While they browse, shoppers at the Nov. 20 Market on Monarch Way may feel they've been transported to Salzburg.

Before COVID forced many performers off their stages, the annual Madrigal Banquets were catered affairs, with music, dancing and holiday revelry. The banquets won't return this year, "but we are very excited to have the opportunity to perform our first-ever Madrigal Holiday Market as part of the Market on Monarch Way," said Bianca Hall, director of the Madrigal Singers and a lecturer in early music.

From 5 to 5:30 p.m., the ODU Brass Quintet will play holiday music arranged for trumpets, French horns, trombones and tubas. At 5:30 p.m., the ODU Madrigal Singers and ODU Collegium Musicum ensembles will sing and play holiday music dressed in Renaissance garb. Wearing velvet, plumed hats and corded belts, the singers will perform several Medieval and Renaissance dances.

The Madrigal Singers is the F. Ludwig Diehn School of Music's chamber vocal ensemble, performing a cappella music crossing genres and eras. This year, the ensemble includes 12 students, both music majors and non-majors. The Collegium Musicum performers specialize in early instruments, playing replicas of historical instruments from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras. This semester, the Collegium Musicum has eight members playing the recorder, viola da gamba, guitar and percussion.

"Even though we aren't producing the usual Madrigal Banquets this year, the students and I are very excited to be able to perform a holiday concert in costume and in the spirit of the banquets but in a new setting that we hope will allow us to connect with an even broader audience than we might typically have at the banquets," Hall said.

The Market on Monarch Way began in the summer of 2021 as a collaboration between ODU and local entrepreneur Christine Harrell. The weekly events offer a showcase for local artisans and performers and to connect ODU with the wider community.

The Madrigal Holiday Market will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Brock Commons, located at 47th Street and Monarch Way. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.

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