MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

December 28, 2019 

Extra-curricular activities such as music enhance the lives of students

I had the good pleasure of attending the Mayville State Music Department’s Madrigal Feast on the evening of Dec. 7. I enjoyed the experience very much. It was a great opportunity to watch our music students shine in an out-of-the-classroom environment.

The Madrigal Feast was a dinner theater performance, and all band and choir members performed in costume reminiscent of the Renaissance period. One could imagine the feast taking place in a castle and in the presence of lords and ladies. Song, dance, and theatrical performances were interjected among various courses of the meal which was prepared and served by Mayville State’s Dining Services staff. The audience also had opportunities to join in singing.

The cast included Mayville State faculty members Robert Sylskar and Robert Miess, as well as Mayville State alumna Teresa Agnes. MSU Music Department faculty member Dr. Cody Hunter and Greta Paschke served as court musical director and court musician respectively. Students Catherine Stagnaro, Sophia Anderson, Sarah Scheitel, and Angeline Sheard participated in toasts, and Levi Lemer, Ben Myszkowski, and Aaron Reistad were part of the Boar’s Head Carol.

Started many years ago by former Mayville State music director Mike Bakken, the Madrigal Feast has become a Mayville State tradition. The Feast is presented every-other year, and students very much look forward to being a part of it.

Four seniors, Levi Lemer, Ben Myszkowski, Adam Lacrosse, and Joanie Holden, performed in their last Mayville State Madrigal Feast this year.

Joanie Holden had this to say about her experiences. “The Mayville State music department is full of hard-working people - staff, students, and donors - who have made my time here so enjoyable! The Madrigal Feast was a wonderful way to end the year, as we were able to invite community members and parents to see a different kind of production. I have been so blessed and honored to work with such a wonderful department these last four years!”

“It is so exciting to make great music with my classmates,” said Adam Lacrosse. “I have also really enjoyed recreating the atmosphere of the Renaissance for the Madrigal Feast over the years.”

Ben Myszkowski reflected, “My thoughts on the Madrigal Feast have always been of fun and enjoyment. I have had a blast being in costume and playing a character. The thing I enjoy the most is the teamwork of the choir and band, whose members are creating beautiful music that is from a different period. My four and a half years at Mayville State have been amazing. The music department and my professors have always been a great help with anything with which I have needed help. This institution has been a family to me and I will forever cherish the memories I have made here.”

Wow! Hearing comments like this gives me goose bumps! We are so blessed to have the opportunity to work with outstanding students. It is our privilege to provide opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities that no doubt make a difference in their lives.

As 2019 comes to a close, I send along my very best wishes to you. Please know how much we appreciate our alumni and friends, including all the citizens of Traill County. We could not do what we do at Mayville State University without your support. How wonderful it is that we can work together to provide opportunities to help students as they pursue their educational goals and dreams! Thank you for all you do to assist as we work to provide for the workforce needs of our area, our state, and nation. We look forward to continuing our life-changing partnerships in 2020.