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Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Last March I attended the Oratorio Society of Minnesota's concert, The Music Of Downton Abbey, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral.  The concert was spectacular and featured music from the post-Edwardian period that the television show takes place in. 

Musicians tuning prior to the concert.

We are officially welcomed to Downton and the concert.

The concert opened with the show's theme song, "Downton Abbey Suite."

"Once In Royal David's City."

The Cathedral was the perfect space for this concert.

Mirroring that spring concert, I had the opportunity this past weekend to return to St. Mark’s for another Downton treat from the Oratorio Society, Christmas At Downton Abbey.  This concert featured Christmas music from the early 1900’s, and as with the first concert, all of the music reflected performances and events that took place following World War I.

Lady Louise introduced each of the songs to us.

The Women of the Choir sing for us.

The concert once again opened with “Downton Abbey Suite” (the theme song from the show), which put everyone in the mood for what was to come.  Throughout the evening we were treated to carols familiar and new.  A few of my favorites, “Once In Royal David’s City,” “in The Bleak Midwinter,” and “The Holly And The Ivy,” blended beautifully with songs such as “Welcome, Yule,” “Terly Terlow,” and “A Christmas Greeting,” which were new to me.  We were also treated to a wonderful performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus” – one of my all time favorites - just before intermission.  I was struck by how many members of the audience new the words and were singing along – myself included.

Lady Louise.

Now it's the men in choir's turn to perform.

There was, however, a moment of sadness with the concert as well.  At the spring concert, actress, Marsha Smith played Lady Alice, a fictitious member of the Crawley family, and introduced each of the songs to us, giving their history and placing them within the context of real life events of the post-Edwardian period.  Smith had planned to be a part of this concert as well, but unfortunately lost her battle with cancer last month, and passed away.  Her words of wisdom to Dr. Matthew Mehaffey, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Oratorio Society, were that the “Show must go on!”  Fortunately for us, actress Katherine Engel, was able to fill in as Lady Louise, and guide us through the musical selections.

The bell tower of St. Mark's Cathedral was resplendent in Advent blue.

Lady Louise with Dr. Matthew Mehaffey, the Artistic Director and Conductor 
of the Oratorio Society of Minnesota.

The Oratorio Society of Minnesota is now in its 35th Anniversary Season and if you haven’t had a chance to hear them, I strongly recommend that you check out the rest of their concert season.  Christmas At Downton Abbey was another amazing evening, and the perfect theme for a holiday concert.  Once again the walls of St. Mark’s Cathedral transported us back to the early 1900’s; allowing us to be swept up in the magic that is Downton Abbey.   

What I wore to Christmas at Downton Abbey:    
               White Shirt:  Jos. A. Banks
               Navy Vest:  Tommy Hilfiger              
               Blackwatch Bow Tie:  Mill City Fineries
               Green Corduroy Pants:  Lands End
               Shoes:  Bostonian Cordovan Cap Toe
               Socks:  Brooks Brothers
Watch:  Timex
               Watch Strap:  Brooks Brothers
               Phone Case: J. Crew

***Are you a fan of Downton Abbey?

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