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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

March Chamber Choir Performance Features "Saucy, Lively, Joking" Madrigals

San Antonio Chamber Choir Facebook

Many of us may think of chamber choir music as formal and perhaps a bit stuffy. But after speaking to San Antonio Chamber Choir Board President Carl Leafstedt, maybe we've come to that conclusion too quickly. First, Leafstedt reminds us of exactly who they are and what they do.

“The San Antonio Chamber Choir is an organization of professional voices, it’s a paid choir of many of the city’s top voices" he said. "Our mission is to perform music that is not often performed in South Texas -- very difficult and unusual repertory sometimes, at the very highest levels."

They’ve got a Saturday, March 1 performance at the Sunset Station complex -- a concert full of Madrigals. I asked him the question many of you might ask. 

What exactly is a Madrigal?”

“A Madrigal is an irreverent secular text set to unaccompanied choral voices. Most of them are from the 1500s and 1600s," Leafstedt said.

“Irreverent?” I asked.

“Often very irreverent, sometimes very bawdy -- saucy, lively, joking," Leafstedt said. "Well, you would definitely not hear these in a church.”

Except in this particular instance, they are playing at Sunset Station’s venue called The Spire. As Leafstedt confirmed, it was formerly a church.

“It’s an old church that is now an events hall for the city and for the sunset station area" he said. "It’s got a beautiful hardwood floor, limestone walls, very old, but clear sight lines. It should be a good acoustic environment to hear music of this quality."

The event itself is called March Madrigal Madness, a term coined by the choir’s Artistic Director Scott MacPherson.

“He loves alliteration," Leafstedt said. "A lot of people get excited about basketball in March, hence March Madrigal Madness."

The event isn’t just singing — there are appetizers, cash bar, silent auction, and then a post-concert reception including desserts. As to the singing:

“It literally makes the hairs rise up on the back of your neck,” Leafstedt said.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii