North Country Chorus
In January 1982 the North Country Chorus began its tradition of Madrigal Dinners as a means of raising money for our 1982 tour of England. While the theme and plot have varied and evolved over the years, each production has featured a mouthwatering dinner and abundant entertainment, including music, drama, dance, magic and juggling. The Town Hall of Monroe, NH, has undergone extensive transformations into castle halls of England, Scotland and Spain, as well as a tavern and Canterbury Cathedral.
Are you interested in participating in Madrigal Dinner 2017? Email Claire Mead.
2016 ~ The Return of the Admiral
The adventures of Christopher Columbus continue! Upon returning to Spain from the New World, Columbus is depressed and poor, having been stripped of his title and pension. His mistress Beatriz is cold and unsympathetic. His cousin Diego, a decidedly inept attorney, pleads Christopher's case to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. They send the admiral on another voyage from which he returns with a special surprise for the Royals.
View Bryan Turnbull's stunning photographs!
George Mitchell's photos (359 of them!) and 3 videos
2015 ~ Hello, Columbus!
View and download photos by Bryan Turnbull
photos by George Mitchell
This year's show took place at the Spanish court of Isabella and Ferdinand. Columbus reports on his discoveries and displays the "riches" he returned with – or not. The Inquisitor Torquemada ensures that all activities are ecclesiastically aligned – or not. During a flashback to happenings on the Santa Maria we find a carping crew, some curious sprites, and, when they make landfall, some partying natives.
2014 ~ The Queen’s Play
Queen Elizabeth I visits Kenilworth Castle, the home of the Earl and Countess of Leicester, who employ their best efforts to regain her majesty's favor by means of music, mirth, magic, a sumptuous feast – and the unintended comedy "Pyramus and Thisbe," reputedly by Leicester's up-and-coming playwright Will Shakespeare.
The Queen, portrayed by Sage M. Couture, is experienced in the role and fashions her own costumes. David Kyle played the Jester. The roles of host and hostess, the Earl and Countess of Leicester, were played by Bob and Claire Mead. Music was under the direction of Alan Rowe of St. Johnsbury. Monroe native Edith Anne Emery and her team of scullery maids prepared a delicious full-course meal. Jay Sprout of Barnet, VT, wrote the script, with a little help from Will himself.
2013 ~ The Queen’s Gift
This production revisited the 16th Century reign of Elizabeth I. Guests "followed the money" and glimpsed some improbable answers to certain mysteries of history – as well as certain mysteries of the human heart.
The Queen was portrayed by Sage M. Couture, who is experienced in the role and also fashions her own costumes. The Jester, aka Jay Sprout, authored the script and directed the production. The roles of host and hostess, the Earl and Countess of Leicester, were played by Madrigal Dinner veterans Bob and Claire Mead. The Earl commissioned none other than William Shakespeare, played by David Kyle, to write a play in Elizabeth's honor, but is he all the playwright he claims to be?
Photos by George Mitchell
Watch a 90 min video of Madrigal Dinner 2013 at Kingdom Access TV.
2012 ~ The Shaming of the True
Did Shakespeare write his plays? Probably. But if not, it might have looked like this.
2011 ~ A Comedy of Arrows
Not many know it, but Shakespeare once tried to write a play about Robin Hood. It did not go well. This production revealed the arrows of outrageous fortune that befell the Bard. Music was directed by Alan Rowe of St. Johnsbury. Monroe native Edith Anne Emery and her team of scullery wenches prepared a delicious full-course meal. The production was under the direction of Woody Starkweather of Danville.
2010 ~ Robin Hood Remembered
Robin Hood, his Merry Men and their ladies gathered in Sherwood Forest for a 40th reunion. No longer outlaws but respectable lords and ladies, they celebrated their successes and remember past adventures and romances.
Music was directed by Alan Rowe of St. Johnsbury. Monroe native Edith Anne Emery and her team of scullery wenches prepared a delicious full-course meal. The production was under the direction of Woody Starkweather of Danville.
2006 – 2009
An evening at the court of Elizabeth I
Behind the scenes at Madrigal Dinner 2007
The Canterbury Tales
(but not as you remember them from school!)
Photos by George Mitchell
It's springtime in England. Join Chaucer, the Wife of Bath, saints, rogues and singers. Feast to music, magic, drama and mirth as the Pilgrims journey to Canterbury Cathedral.
Pertelote and her chicks listen as Chanticleer tells of his dreams.
An enchanted owl spins a tale for the King's daughter, Lyric.
The King is faced with a froggy knight!
Eight lovely ladies weave an intricate May Pole pattern.
The Squire tells his tale of the King and his three daughters.
A Visit from Queen Elizabeth 1990-1999
Mary Whitney Rowe, director of the North Country Chorus for 50 years.
Queen Elizabeth joins the chous in song.
Guests are entertained by a very agile juggler.
Photos courtesy of Hank Buermeyer