University of Alberta Madrigal Singers
The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers took the top prize in the Mixed Choir category of the CBC's Choral Competition in 2004. It marks the fourth time the choir has won in this category, with previous wins in 1992, 1996 and 1998. But it was the first time the competition was judged based on live-to-air performance rather than on taped submissions.
The University of Alberta Madrigal Singers was established in 1974 under the direction of Larry Cook as a twelve-voice early music ensemble. In 1984, Dr Leonard Ratzlaff became the conductor, and the group has since grown to include forty-four members who sing music from all periods and styles. Membership is determined by audition each September. The choir consists mainly of music students, although it is open to singers city-wide. Members may register in the "Choral Ensemble" course for credit or participate simply to enhance their appreciation of and skill in performing choral music.
The Madrigal Singers has a student-elected executive responsible for helping to manage the affairs of the choir, including tour preparation, financial management, costuming, media and communications, and relations within the choir and between choirs.
The Madrigal Singers perform in Convocation Hall on the University of Alberta campus and at other venues in Edmonton, including the Francis Winspear Centre for Music and various churches. The choir has sung as guest artists with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (ESO), most recently performing Handel's Messiah with conductor Timothy Vernon and the ESO in December 2003. The CBC frequently records the choir's concerts for regional and national broadcast. Beyond Edmonton, "Mads" tour Alberta and British Columbia, and, in recent years, have participated in University Voices, a festival of Canadian university choirs held in Toronto. The choir has also participated in a number of festivals and competitions around the world, including the Robert Schumann International Choral Competition in Zwickau, Germany and the Cork International Choral Festival in Cork, Ireland.
To read more about the Madrigal Singers, please visit their website.