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Keeping tradition alive

Moorestown Madrigals' director has one eye on the group's past

The Moorestown High School Madrigals will host their holiday dinner on Monday, Dec. 18, and choral director Caela Johnson had something different in mind for this year’s event.

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“Recently I thought it would be cool if we included the people that are part of the legacy that we are,” she recalled. “ … I want my students to feel more connected to our alumni and vice versa, because we are only here because of them.”

Johnson is excited to see her students interact with the people who helped build the program, and is also interested in learning the stories of former Madrigals’ members.

“I hear from a lot of alumni that they used to go to Europe, and they used to do a lot of gigs overseas and stuff like that, so it’s interesting to see how Madrigals has developed over the years and changed,” she said.

The Madrigals have a lot of new voices this season, but Johnson enjoys seeing the program thrive among students of all ages.

“I get a lot of siblings of former students, so that’s really cool to see that tradition go through families,” she noted. “It’s also cool that I can go down to the middle school, see the kids that are so excited to be Madrigals, and then watch them come through the program. It’s really great.”

Johnson is in her third year with the Madrigals and she’s excited about adding to something rooted in tradition.

“Because it’s something that everyone in Moorestown knows about, it’s really difficult to come in not understanding the depth of what it is,” Johnson explained, “so it’s cool that I’ve been able to live in what it is and also contribute to what it will be in the future.

“It’s been pretty incredible to be part of something that I didn’t even know existed,” she added. “ … This year has been really great; I finally feel like I know how to put myself into the program, and also uphold what it’s been.”

The Madrigals will have their winter concert on Thursday, Dec. 7; their spring concert on Friday, March 8; and their POPS concert on Saturday, June 6. They are also available for holiday entertainment performances.

Seeing students rehearse outside of class is great for Johnson, and she’s proud of their commitment to the music.

“All of the students in Madrigals are dedicated and kind and are leaders,” she pointed out. “ … This is the best group of students that I’ve had yet in terms of just being there for each other and the help that they give each other …

“It’s just really wonderful.”

For more information or information on hiring the Madrigals this holiday season, email Johnson at cjohnson@mtps.us.

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