Iowa State Department of Music presents Madrigal Dinner

Devin Wilmott

The Iowa State Department of Music will host the 49th annual Madrigal Dinner on Jan. 17 and 18 in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. The dinner, featuring the Iowa State Singers, Music Antiqua, The Music Men and Orchesis II will bring the audience back in time to the 16th century. 

The comedic event is a form of dinner theater that is set in the Middle Ages. It includes singing, dancing, a full-course dinner and a light-hearted play. 

“Overall, the Madrigal Dinner is a fantastic production that would be an experience unlike anything else for the students at Iowa State,” said Kelly Lockerbie, senior in civil engineering and president of the Iowa State Singers.  

This is Lockerbie’s fourth year as part of the Madrigal Dinner, and she holds both her roles as choir member and “Strolling Minstrel” proudly. As a minstrel, she will visit different tables during the dinner and sing a madrigal piece to a nearby audience. Each performer possesses a different “role” for the evening to enhance the Middle Age experience. The night would not be complete without the presence of a king and queen, squires, court jesters, beggars as well as lords and ladies. All performers will be clothed in late 16th-century regalia including the Royal Court.

The evening will start off with a social hour, followed by the dinner. The dinner will commence with a royal procession followed by a performance from court dancers and singers. 

“Throughout the dinner, the choir will sing several traditional madrigal pieces,” Lockerbie said. “There will also be a performance by a group called The Music Men, an instrumental performance by Musica Antiqua, and dancing performed by Orchesis II. In addition, one of the highlights of the night is the play, which is a comedy acted out by a group of members of the Iowa State Singers.”

Janice Baker, assistant professor of kinesiology and faculty adviser for Orchesis ll, described the event as “a very entertaining and educational as well as yummy experience.” 

Every year the Madrigal Dinner brings new pieces, theatre productions and Medieval entrees to the table. The audience will feast on roast pork sirloin, herb roasted potatoes, guillotine bread, plum pudding, and toast with a glass of wassail punch to welcome in the New Year. 

“The goal of the Madrigal Dinner is purely to entertain the audience and to bring in talent from several different groups to create one large production,” Lockerbie said. “It is amazing how it brings us all back to the Middle Ages, and I hope that the audience will experience this time warp as well.”

Tickets are $38 for students and $42 for regular admission and can be purchased at the Memorial Union Ticket Office or online at