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
Conductor and Treasurer - Christian Berlin
"Hi, I am honoured to be the conductor and treasurer of this lovely choir for the next year and I'm looking forward to welcoming both current members and new singers to a year of good music, singing-joy and lots of fun! I'm a second year student in Human Geography and have a strong passion for music. Since I was seven I've always sung in a choir, along with playing violin which I am receiving a scholarship for from the university. I have also taken various conducting classes and studied conducting for a year through a talent program at the Norwegian academy of music. If you like a rich repertoire and have a passion singing, the MADs Is the place for you!”
President and Assistant Conductor - Ishbel O'Brien
“Hello, I’m Ishbel, and I study International Politics and Military History. I am so excited to be President and Assistant conductor this year. I’ve been taking classical singing lessons since I was 6 and have always enjoyed performing in various choirs and ensemble. Especially in wonderful locations such as the Royal Albert Hall. Mads has been a highlight of my week since first year and I look forward to welcoming others into the choir. I am so excited for the upcoming year and sharing the 70+ years of Mads traditions with new members.”
Secretary and Wellbeing Officer- Helen Flower
"Hi, I’m Helen, and I study Art History at the School of Art. I have been singing with Mads since 1st year; I am now in 3rd year. My musical background is singing with my local cathedral choir and having singing lessons on and off since I was 14. I have also played the violin since I was 7. I am really happy to be part of committee this year, at the heart of a choir with 70+ years of history and with many years of tradition to uphold."
The Audition Process
Our auditions will be held this year on the 2nd October, both online and in person.
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 to have 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
April 7th, 2021
March 10th, 2021
February 17th, 2021
January 8th, 2021
November 13th, 2020
Please visit our website--www.abermads.co.uk--to submit your comments and suggestions to our committee meeting agendas.