UCI's award-winning Madrigal Dinner recreates the spontaneous fun and high spirits of the Tudor Court. Laughter rings out amidst the ceremony, sprightly songs accent activities, trumpet fanfares announce each course, and the jester adds astonishment and wonder at every turn. Come to the Madrigal Dinner and experience the essence of the Tudor Court brought to life.
The music heard during the Madrigal Dinner, all of which is performed live, represents the typical songs, fanfares, and dances which might have been heard by His Majesty, King Henry VIII. All of the fanfares and several other musical selections were composed by King Henry.
In addition to being a composer, the king was also an accomplished dancer, played several musical instruments, and wrote poetry. The modern carols heard each evening had Tudor counterparts which would be familiar to the nobility of Henry's era. Instruments of the time including harpsichords, recorders, viols and sackbuts were played by the Kings Musick, Henry's band of professional court musicians.

Click here to listen to a selection of music from previous Madrigal Dinners.


The food served during the festivities reflects the taste of the time. Beef was highly prized and served to the nobility. Pease pottage was a dish that Henry himself enjoyed. Wassail, a traditional drink of the time, was available at feastes and at lavish banquets. The figgy pudding, heralded in song, was the dessert of choice during the holiday season.

Click here to see this year's menu.


The festivities include 16th Century dances, games and intrigues of the court. The lavish banquet is served by youthful nobility expecting to gain favor and notice from His Majesty. The stately royal procession is authentic to its time. The costumes were designed after 16th Century paintings of Hans Holbein of King Henry's court. Even our popular knighting ceremony is a reconstruction from the period.