Courtesy of Mary Firtl Saint Mary’s students perform in the annual Madrigals production.Though the event is entertaining, it also serves the higher purpose of fundraising.“The proceeds from the events actually goes to the women’s choir to help fund their women’s choir tour that they do every other year,” Baxter said.All of the departments’ work hard to benefit the women’s choir.“The women’s choir starts working in September. They start rehearsing the pieces, and then we start working from October on,” Baxter said.The Saint Mary’s event differs from other versions of Madrigal dinners.“It’s a really unusual and unique kind of event,” Baxter said.Baxter said that Saint Mary’s communications professor Susan Baxter has developed two scripts for the dinner after Nancy Menk said “that she wanted the performance to be a little more reverent.”Before Susan Baxter’s scripts, the storytelling for the event was secondary, Richard Baxter said.“Over the years [Madrigals] has involved into a presentation that is centered on a story and then it has songs that the choir signs and the choir kind of moves the action along,” he said.The scripts follow one traditional family living in Renaissance England.“Susan wrote the first script where the daughter falls in love with one of the kitchen people, and of course there is an issue with their social status, and the master of the house did not want them to be married, but eventually, they are married in secret. That’s part A,” Richard Baxter said. “Part B is what we are doing now, where the daughter and the husband have moved away and you see the master and the mistress and the jester coping with the master’s dip in faith.”In the past, the love story was performed, but this year, the play being performed is the one after the daughter and husband move away.Like all Christmas stories, Baxter said it has a happy ending.“The story she has put in is really a story of faith, and how he recovers his faith and how the Christmas message is rediscovered and enjoyed,” he said.Though the story has become an important part of the dinner, there are still many other features.“The evening involves a lot of sacred music,” Baxter said. “They have a trumpet fanfare, and they have jugglers. That is all part of the festivity with the intent being that you are in a medieval hall prior to Christmas time. … The dance department puts on the dances, and the ancient music ensemble from Anderson University comes down and plays the music.”All of the work that goes into the production pays off with the reaction and dedication of the audience.“There is a family that has been coming every year for the last four years, and they bring their children,” Baxter said. “They pulled me aside two years ago, and they said, ‘As far as we are concerned, Christmas doesn’t begin until we come to this event.’”Baxter said he enjoys watching people come to the event.“Watching people come in out of the cold, hang their coats up, sit down and be transported back to the middle ages. That’s my favorite part,” he said.Tags: christmas, Christmas Madrigal, Madrigal Dinner Every late November, the lobby of Regina North is transformed back in time. People from departments across campus including the costume shop, the dance department, dining services, the set shop, the music department and the Office of Campus and Community events join together to create a night of music, magic and storytelling through the Madrigal dinner.Attendees are transported back in time to the Renaissance period for a night of dancing signing and holiday cheer.“This office has always helped to do the logistics of the event in addition to selling the tickets and managing how the event operates,” Richard Baxter, the director of campus and community events, said.
Nov 3, 2009E coli outbreak with 2 deaths linked to ground beefAn outbreak of 28 Escherichia coli cases in 16 states, with two deaths, has been linked to ground beef from a firm in New York, according to federal officials. The US Department of Agriculture reported Oct 31 that Fairbank Farms of Asheville, N.Y., was recalling 545,699 pounds of ground beef potentially contaminated with E coli. Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said isolates from seven patients genetically matched an isolate from an opened package of the firm’s ground beef from a Massachusetts patient’s home. Most of the patients fell ill between Sep 17 and Oct 10, the CDC reported. Sixteen were hospitalized, 3 suffered hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure, and 2 died, the agency said. States affected by the outbreak are California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Vermont. Most of the recalled products list “Est. 492” on the USDA mark of inspection and carry the date “091509” or “091609.”Oct 31 USDA recall noticeNov 2 CDC statementChinese woman treated for H9 avian flu in Hong KongA woman from Guangdong province on the Chinese mainland is being treated in Hong Kong for a rare case of H9 avian influenza, Hong Kong government officials reported today. The woman fell ill with breathlessness and a cough Oct 26 and was admitted to a Hong Kong hospital 2 days later, the statement said. The woman, who has a preexisting medical condition that requires regular medication, is in stable condition in isolation. Five previous H9 infections have been identified in Hong, all involving children, in 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2008, officials said. They gave no information about the source of the infection.WHO issues pandemic guidance for non-health sectorThe World Health Organization (WHO) has released a set of guidelines—developed before the H1N1 influenza pandemic—on pandemic preparedness outside the health sector. The 18-page document includes sections on business continuity management, interdependencies among essential services, government’s role, and the role of other organizations. A foreword cautions that, because the guidance was developed before the H1N1 pandemic, some information and recommendations may not be relevant to the current situation.WHO document “Whole-of-Society Pandemic Readiness”
The last time the USC women’s swimming and diving team won a conference championship, most of the current swimmers’ and divers’ parents were still in high school. The year was 1985 — a year before the then-Pacific 10 began recognizing women’s athletics — when the Trojans swam their way to the Western Collegiate Athletic Association title.Just over three decades later, the Trojans are conference champions once again.Led by solid veteran leadership and explosive young talent, the No. 4 USC women’s swimming and diving team beat the odds to defeat Stanford, the nation’s top-ranked team; Cal, the defending conference and NCAA champions, as well as six other teams to capture the crown. A year after the men’s swimming and diving team won their first conference championship in 36 years, head coach Dave Salo understood the impact that the win had on not only this team but the entire Trojan family that they represent.“There is nothing better than making Trojan alumni and fans proud of their Trojans,” Salo said. “The drought of team championships is over for USC.”Historically, USC has boasted several outstanding individual swimmers but hasn’t been able to put together the team effort it takes to win a collective title. That script was flipped this year, as the Trojans — despite only winning three events — won the championship by over one hundred total points.USC, who finished third in the 2015 Pac-12 Championships, posted a total of 1481 points. They were followed by No. 1 Stanford, who scored 1344, and No. 6 California, with 1306. From there, the gaps between schools widened: Arizona came in fourth with 1125 points, and UCLA, Utah, Washington State, Arizona State and Oregon State all finished with fewer than 1000 total points.One of USC’s individual winners, junior swimmer Chelsea Chenault, was there when the Trojans fell short of their goal last season.“It’s just an awesome experience to be the first team to ever win the Pac-12 Championship for our school,” Chenault said. “We’ve just been so strong, we’ve been fighting on this whole year.”Chenault was the individual winner in the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday evening, and freshman Elizabeth Stinson went the distance on Saturday night to win the 1650-yard freestyle. They would be the only two Trojans to win their individual events.“Nothing is more satisfying than a team championship, especially when it was as balanced as this was,” Salo said. “No one star propelled this. It was everyone taking responsibility and making a contribution.”USC’s other team victory came in the 800-yard freestyle relay on the first night of the championships, when the quartet featuring freshmen Kirsten Vose and Allie Wooden, and juniors Anika Apostalon and Chenault obliterated the school record with a time of 6:55.17. Their finish in the 800 free was good for an NCAA “A” cut time and is currently the nation’s top time in the event this year.While the Trojans certainly deserve to celebrate after their first-ever Pac-12 conference title, they won’t have long to relax. The NCAA Championships begin in mid-March at Georgia Tech, and with the confidence the team has built up after winning the conference title, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them in position to compete for their first national championship since 1997.“The lesson learned throughout this championship was that when we put our mind to something we can get it done,” Salo said. “But at this point, winning the Pac-12 championship was one of those events that can transform a team not just for the immediate NCAA championship but for many championships we may face over the next several years.”With only ten graduating seniors on the roster of 34 swimmers and divers — including fifteen talented freshmen — this may not be the last time we see the Trojans at the top of their conference in the near future.
Nenagh’s Donnacha Ryan is set to step-up his return from a concussion injury this week. As the Munster and Ireland second-row continues his efforts to prove his fitness ahead of Ireland’s tour of South Africa, Ryan has been named in an experimental Munster Development side to take-on the Ireland Under-20s at Thomond Park tomorrow.