Who are We? What do we do?
(Please visit our external site to learn more).
Formed in 1950, the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers (fondly known as “MADs”) remains Aberystwyth University’s longest running society. This auditioned choir started as a small chamber ensemble specializing in strictly pre-classical repertoire; however, over the past 60 years, the choir has broadened its literature to include sacred, secular, folk, jazz, and contemporary pieces as well. Since its conception, MADs has served as the university’s premier chamber choir, and now, MADs holds a prestigious and extensive history. Each new generation of MADs hopes to preserve the choir's venerability, high standards, and musical dedication.
As a chamber choir, our membership caps at around 10-25 singers each year. Furthermore, as a relatively small group, the choir always forms a strong bond--a bond particularly strengthened by our annual residential course at Gregynog Hall, Wales. This course entails a weekend away in the beautiful manor that is Gregynog Hall, rehearsing and singing for approximately 15 hours over the course of the weekend, as well as taking part in small ensemble workshops.
Alongside singing in and around the town of Aberystwyth, MADs go on tour every summer to international locations such as Prague, Czech Republic (2016), Krakow, Poland (2015), Martin, Slovakia (2014), Burgos, Spain (2013), and Friedrichshafen, Germany (2012). In November of 2010, the choir had the privilege of singing on the pitch of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium at the start of the Wales vs. South Africa rugby game. Furthermore, in addition to BBC Radio Wales performances, Aberystwyth University invites MADs to perform at the graduation ceremonies every year, continuing a tradition established in the choir’s infancy.
Usually, we have a Christmas and Spring Concert. However, as our Christmas Concert couldn't go ahead this year, we produced videos for a 'Virtual Christmas Concert'. Below are our most recent performances made for our annual Reunion and the SU's Arts Festival.
Why Join Us?
Participating in the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers yields a great many rewards: the opportunity to develop further one's artistic, technical, and musical skills, the depth of feeling that resonates with a singer when performing masterwork, the chance to work in an intimate environment with close friends, as well as the sense of accomplishment that comes from performing in international music tours, festivals and Graduation. If you happen to be a vocally-inclined Aberystwyth University student or an Aber local, please consider adding this enriching experience to your life. Learn more by visiting our official homepage: www.abermads.co.uk.
When and Where do we Rehearse?
Currently, we are holding weekly rehearsals every Monday and Friday for about an hour from 19:30 - 20:30 online via Microsoft Teams, with a social every other Monday following the rehearsal. Usually, we practice twice a week at the Old College on Monday and Friday evenings from 18:30 - 20:30. If you are in Concert Band and cannot make Monday evening rehearsals, special arrrangements can be made in this case.
The MADs Committee
President - Anna Wolski
"Hi, I’m Anna. I’m the President of the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers this year and a third year Human Geography student. I’ve been playing the clarinet since I was 7 achieving a distinction in my Grade 8 exam. Whilst I’ve been playing in music ensembles since I started learning the clarinet, I’ve only been in choirs since arriving in Aberystwyth. This will be my second year in MADs and I hope to make it an amazing year by bringing in new members into the MADs community."
Conductor and Treasurer - James Sale
"Hello, my name is James and I'm honoured to be the Conductor and Treasurer. I'm a third year student reading Accounting and Finance, but music is a very important part of my life. Along with singing bass in the Mad's and church choirs, I'm an organ scholar and grade 8 pianist. In the past few years, I've taken the opportunity to accompany choirs of various sizes and learn from conductors with many different styles. I really look forward to working with the Mad's and hope to create an enriching and exciting experience for all!"
Vice President - Ishbel O'Brien
"Hello, I’m Ishbel and I’m Vice President. I am a 2nd year International Politics student, and I’ve been studying classical and opera singing since I was 6. Throughout that time, I've enjoyed participating in various ensembles and chamber choirs, as well as recording with the Gabrieli consort and players. After joining the MADs last year I found it to be a highlight of my week. This year I look forward to welcoming new members into the choir and sharing the MADs 70 year history."
Assistant Conductor - Oliver Turner
"Hello! I’m Oliver, I’m a third-year Writing for Broadcasting, Media and Performance (scriptwriting of different flavours) and I’m delighted to be co-conductor of Mads for this academic year. While I’ve been singing enthusiastically since I was 6, in recent years I’ve found a real passion for conducting and guest conducted most of my college’s choirs and ensembles including the audition choir, Voci Forti. I remain a regular guest conductor of the Shropshire Pops Orchestra. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the bass section last year with Mads and look forward to assisting James in guiding the group artistically this year."
Secretary - Marissa Leo
"I’m Leo and I’m a 3rd year Creative Arts student. With a previous foundation in Graphic Design, as secretary I cover social media and marketing for Mads. While primarily a choral singer, I personally dabble in guitar, digital music, and recorder. Singing in choirs has been a large part of my identity since childhood and I’ve loved being able to continue singing in such an amazing group at university! One of my favourite aspects of Mads is learning about its 70 years of tradition, specifically at our large reunion held every year."
Wellbeing Officer - Katie Rodge
"Hello, my name is Katie and I’m the Well-being officer for the MADs this year. I am a 3rd year Fine Art and Art History student and I have been singing since I was 4. I have had lessons in classical singing, opera and musical theatre since I was 12. When I came to Aberystwyth I was very keen on continuing to sing and I joined the MADs in my second year. Being part of such a wonderful musical group has been amazing and has also been a brilliant way to relax each week and just do what makes me happy. I was a little nervous to join but I am so glad I did and I hope I can make others feel confident enough to do the same."
The Audition Process
This section outlines the usual audition process although it was adapted this year so it can be carried out online.
The Online Audition Process
A video of yourself performing a piece of your choice (either a previous performance or a video recorded for the occasion) is requested. We then schedule a Microsoft Teams meeting with you to go through some scales, sight-reading and a conversation with the President, Conductor and Assistant Conductor about your musical background, giving you a chance to ask us questions about the choir.
The Usual Audition Process
In order to preserve the rigor and prestige of the Elizabethan Madrigal Singers, singers interested in joining must take part in and pass an audition process. The audition is split up into two parts: a solo section and a technical section. First the singer must choose one of four possible pieces (listed below) to learn and perform for the adjudicators. This solo shall be judged on tone quality, technique, intonation, accuracy, diction, and musicality. The second section of the audition comprises of technical skills such as triad and scale singing, melodic dictation, and sight-reading exercises. Please view the Audition Rubric for details.
The solo pieces are: Caro mio ben, I Attempt from Love’s Sickness to Fly, Ich liebe dich, and Where Eer You Walk. They can be found in the correct key for your voice part/register below. Furthermore, practice tracks are available to aid in the learning of these solos. A piano accompanist will be provided at the audition.
As for the technical part of the audition, it is required that the singer can showcase a few musical fundamentals--standard trials and scales, namely. Accordingly, the major, minor, augmented, and diminished triads as well as the major, harmonic minor, and melodic minor scales have been notated in a document below for the auditioner's aid. Similarly, audio tracks of these important technical bits are provided for learning purposes as well. Lastly, a book of practice sight reading exercises can also be found.
If you have any questions about the audition process, please contact a member of the committee. Please note that NO PRIOR SINGING EXPERIENCE IS NEEDED. We are happy to help anyone, no matter the skill level, prepare for the audition. Please do not be at all frightened at the requirements!
Code of Conduct
Risk Assessment for Weekly Rehearsals
COVID-19 Risk Assessment
Committee Meeting Agendas
January 8th, 2021
November 13th, 2020
July 17th, 2019
November 7th, 2018
June 4th, 2018
September 1st, 2018 (Memo)
Please visit our website--www.abermads.co.uk--to submit your comments and suggestions to our bi-monthly meeting agendas.