The Arts Council of Big Sky hosted its 20th annual Madrigal Dinner at Buck’s T-4 Lodge on Dec. 5, when more than 175 guests gathered to ring in the coming holiday season. Traditional themes highlighted the dinner, including a boar’s head procession, Wassail bowl, a flaming pudding dessert and the annual Christmas toast.

The sold out event featured festive décor and a three-course feast prepared by Buck’s T-4 chefs, which included a salad with roasted butternut squash and feta cheese, a roasted New York Strip entrée, and a dessert featuring chocolate cake and a brûléed banana.

Throughout the evening, eclectic holiday music performed by Montana State University’s Chorale, the MSU Brass Quintet and the MSU Montanans drifted in and out of guests’ conversations at the long dinner tables. The MSU School of Music has been performing the Madrigal Dinner for 51 years, 20 of those in Big Sky.

“It’s a way to showcase the talent that’s at MSU for the student singers and the school of music,” said ACBS Executive Director Brian Hurlbut. “It represents a cross section of people in Big Sky. You have people in their 20s and people in their 80s.”

Overall, the historic event represents a festive tradition, and one that Hurlbut equates to the beginning of the giving season.

“Like all Madrigal dinners, I enjoy seeing all the people who come and watching everyone get into the holiday spirit,” Hurlbut said. “It’s a real warm, fuzzy event. Everyone tells me it’s the kickoff to the holiday season.” – Joseph T. O’Connor