A behind the scenes look at the Madrigals

The Vision follows the Madrigals as they spread their holiday cheer across EGR and beyond


Asha Lewis, Managing Editor

For just a simple donation to the choir department, you can host the Christmas party that everyone will be talking about. How? By hiring the Madrigals – the esteemed choir of juniors and seniors that every student at East Grand Rapids has admired since they heard their humorous yet impressive rendition of the classic “Jingle Bells” or giggled to the dance accompaniment of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. These talented individuals are best known throughout the community for spreading Christmas cheer, or “yuletide glee” as Will Marsh ‘19, honorary Madrigal put it, and they are in high demand.

“Last week they had seven gigs outside of class,” Choir Director Dr. James Borst said. “A lot of them were at the Kent Country Club this year. They donate to the choir department and the kids sing [for] private companies, like law firms, who know about them and have the kids come and sing.”

The Madrigals can even be booked at “private residences” as they call it, but are usually families, young and old, throwing Christmas celebrations that they don’t want their guests to ever forget.

“We had a really fun gig at this house on Plymouth. There were a lot of younger couples. It was just super fun and very personal because we were right in front of them in their living room.” Katherine Christians ‘18 said. “I love that people know who we are. It’s fun to go around the community and have people be like ‘Oh, you’re a Madrigal.’”

“I like the ones where it’s a bunch of old people,” Marsh said. “They laugh at everything we do. It makes you feel very good about yourself even if you’re not that funny.”

While the Madrigals are well known around the community, they are even more celebrated right here at the high school.

“The Madrigals have sung for years in front of students, so if they grew up in East they’ve seen the Madrigals and it’s a staple of their thinking around this time of year,” Borst said. “They get this kind of hero mentality in the building which I just love.”

Not only do the Madrigals spread good spirits to the district, but the tight-knit group of kids also uplift each other.

“I really like all of the people. We get along really well,” Emma Kincaid ‘18 said.

“Having fun, in carpools, getting to and from gigs, just everything is a little adventure in December. You never know what’s going to happen until it happens,” Marsh said.

This bond isn’t reserved for the talented singers, but for their beloved choir director as well.

“They’re funny, they’re responsible, they are dedicated. Their commitment to me as a teacher, as a friend, is really powerful,” Borst said. “You know, I get tired, but it’s a fun tired because they’re just fun loving kids who I really do love. I love the kids, they’re my kids. I treat them all like my own kids.”

While the holiday season – the singing group’s peak – is over, the Madrigals will continue to use their talents in other places, such as upcoming competitions and festivals. Looking ahead, the Madrigals will be competing in the District Solo and Ensemble at Grand Valley State University on Feb. 3.