A Very Mads Christmas


Kyle Phillips

The Washington High School Madrigal Singers perform at the 2016 TransAmerica holiday party, which was held at the DoubleTree on Dec. 9, 2016.

Mariah Rodriguez, Staff reporter

Snowflakes are falling and the street lights all aglow, as neighboring houses twinkle with holiday cheer. People filter inside the venue with anticipation; knowing it is once again that time of year… a treat worth waiting for, as Washington High School’s very own Madrigal Choir explodes into song. Tenor, bass, alto, and soprano…. It’s just impossible to pick a favorite, as the group blends and fades into perfect harmony. Every song keeps you wanting to hear more. The spirit of Christmas surrounds the venue, fills the audience with holiday joy and thankfulness towards the director, Peter Westphalen, for such a wonderful gift.

Although their public performances are free charge, the Madrigals’ dedication, commitment, and pride that radiates from each and every member of this choir is absolutely priceless.

During the Christmas season, the Madrigal Choir group learns over 15 Christmas songs within a very short amount of time. “Mads’ Christmas is such a special time for us, but also stressful as well. It’s a lot of pressure to learn and execute each song Mr. Westphalen teaches us,” said Alex Haggin, ‘19.

Performances are heard all around Cedar Rapids by a wide variety of audiences, day or night. “My most remembered performance this Christmas season was when we were invited to perform for the kids [with disabilities]. Their smiles and giggles were very heartwarming,” said Paul Linville, ‘19.

So much time is spent getting to know the music piece inside in out. When listening to a performance, it is very easy to forget this group is made up of high school teenagers who also may have busy lives outside of school. “Mads is a lot of fun because, I came from a school from Texas called BurkBurnett and they focused heavily on sports and not music. Nobody at my school took choir seriously and didn’t appreciate this form of art,” said Grace DeWolf, ‘19.

“Love,” “comfort,” and “joy” is what most Mads students described the class. Smiles and laughter fill the choir room as the students mingle and help each other improve everyday on their technique. “We Wish You a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year” sung by the Madrigals Choir would even force a Grinch to smile.