Tickets Remain for Final Madrigal Dinners Performances

Tickets remain available for Bemidji State University’s 50th Annual — and final — Madrigal Dinners.

In the video above, Dr. Dwight Jilek, assistant professor of music and director of choral programs, talks about the decision to retire the Madrigal Dinners and recalls a conversation about the decision with dinners founder and former choral director Dr. Paul Brandvik.

This year’s dinners open Nov. 30 and continue through Dec. 9 with six performances at Salolampi, the Finnish language village at Concordia Language Villages, located north of Bemidji. The Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 shows are sold out, but tickets remain for the 1 p.m. performances on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 and for the 7 p.m. performances on Dec. 2, Dec. 7 and Dec. 9.

Tickets, which are $45 for adults and $35 for students, are available online or by contacting the Madrigal Dinners ticket office at (218) 755-3406. Admission includes a meal prepared by Concordia chefs, with an option to purchase non-alcoholic sparkling cider and roses from beggars during the show. The meal will include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options and a cash bar will be available.

Parking will be available on-site at Salolampi, and a limited-availability shuttle from BSU’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex parking lot will be available. Seating on the shuttle, which loads one hour prior to each performance and departs 10 minutes later, can be reserved when purchasing advance tickets for the dinners.

Dr. Dwight Jilek, assistant professor of music and director of choral programs at Bemidji State, is music director and producer for this year’s dinner, while award-winning designer and Bemidji State alumnus Fred Rogers is artistic director and costume designer. Rogers earned a liberal arts degree from BSU in 2012 and a criminal justice degree in 2015.

The dinners combine musical, visual, dramatic and culinary arts into an evening that transcends time. Since their debut at Bemidji State, the dinners have been performed throughout Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin. In partnership with BSU’s centennial celebration, artifacts from 50 years of madrigal dinners are on display in the Ramsey Gallery located in the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.

Final year for Madrigal Dinners

When the curtain falls on the Dec. 9 performance, the Madrigal Dinners will be retired as an annual event at Bemidji State University. The Madrigal Dinners were founded at BSU in 1969 under the tenure of Dr. Paul Brandvik, professor emeritus of vocal music.

“For many years, Bemidji has been a central hub for the arts in our area,” Jilek said. “There is a wealth of students in the surrounding area looking for more opportunities to sing. We have been talking about the best ways to get out and get more people involved in singing in the north.”

Part of that conversation, Jilek said, was to examine the Department of Music and determine what changes it might need to make as it looks toward its future.

“We were aware that most of the decisions our students are making regarding where they’re going to attend college are happening in the fall,” he said. “So that is the prime time to go and visit students in our areas. The time it takes to put the Madrigal Dinners together inhibits our ability to take the choir out and visit the schools in the region. It also inhibits our ability to think long-term about how we best get the word out about Bemidji State University — not only in a choral and music sense, but how we can be the best voices for all that Bemidji State has to offer.”

He said the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the dinners provided a fitting opportunity for the university to retire this tradition.

“We want to bring to a close the annual nature of the Madrigal Dinners in the most honorable and dignified way,” Jilek said. “That played into the decision of stopping it at 50. With that, we have an opportunity to get moving on our next level of planning for the future, and start right away.”

Jilek said the decision to discontinue the Madrigal Dinners was made only after careful consideration and extensive conversations with a number of BSU alumni, local music supporters, the department’s faculty, and even Madrigal Dinners founder Brandvik, who will be in attendance at this year’s opening night.

“After these conversations it became quite clear that this would be one of the main steps to take into the future,” Jilek said. “We want to provide more opportunities for the choral programs to get involved in our region and engaged with our community.

“We’re looking forward to honoring the 50th Madrigal Dinners this year, and then turning the page and finding what the next 50 years will be.”



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Bemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding. For more, visit or find us at BemidjiState on most of your favorite social media networks.