The Music of Downton Abbey
Travel back in time with the SVC!
Saturday, March 14 | 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 15 | 3:00 pm
Pre-concert talk with Gary Boerckel 45 minutes prior to each performance.
Zion Lutheran Church, Sunbury – view google map
Sponsor: The Walnut Acres Foundation
Underwriters: Nancy & Sam Craig; Jean & Bob Hormell; Lois & William Vandenheuvel
Are you a Downton Abbey fan?
This concert features choral and orchestral music from post-Edwardian England paired with narration about memorable events from the story line of the popular British show.
Matthew Mehaffey, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota’s artistic director and conductor (and huge Downton Abbey fan), concocted the idea for this themed concert, which was performed during the 2014 Christmas season. Dr. Mehaffey worked closely with David Fielding, a self-described “musical archeologist,” who unearthed a wealth of seldom-performed English pieces. Faithful PBS viewers will recognize two works from the show’s soundtrack, including Downton Abbey Suite and Us and Them, both written by composer Robert Lunn.
SVC Conductor and Music Director William Payn describes the programming as “challenging, with lots of layers, textures and harmonic implications.” Originally written for male (men and boy) singers, today’s performance is decidedly co-ed.
The audience will be invited to join in on three popular English songs, including our rousing finale – Rule, Britannia! the famous and familiar British patriotic song set to music by Thomas Arne in 1740.
SVC soloists will be dressed in period costumes, as will Fiona Siobhán Powell, our very own “Lady Alice,” the narrator who guides us through the trials and tribulations of turn-of-thecentury historical events.
Enjoy the performance, and please join us for a delightful spot of tea at the post-concert reception!
Special Guest Narrator
Fiona Siobhán Powell, who is Welsh, was educated at Brampton Down School for Girls; a very proper British boarding school. This excellent education included lessons on etiquette and deportment, accepting anything that comes along with a gentle grace, and how to converse with anyone on politics, world events, and the arts. In short, we were all ladies. Ladies who never left the building without wearing a hat and gloves, ladies who wore tweed suits on Sunday, and attended concerts and the theatre every week. Ladies who are prepared to compromise on everything except their behaviour and attitude on life.
After a career in Agriculture, Fiona emigrated to America, and became a professional storyteller, radio producer and on air host. Fiona has worked for WVIA for over a decade, where she is the host of a regional classical music and arts programme “Williamsport Today.” Fiona has performed regularly at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell; various schools in the region; with the Williamsport Civic Chorus as Mother Goose, and with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra reciting “The Snowman.” Fiona is looking forward to performing The Music of Downtown Abbey…music that is so much the fabric of British life, that every Brit can sing it in their sleep. Fiona promises not to sing a note, but rather in the guise of Lady Alice, enlighten you dear Americans with the stories behind the music.
Andrea Halpern is a Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University, where she studies and teaches about memory, the brain, and other cognitive processes. She has a special interest in how people perceive, remember, and imagine music. This combines two interests, as she has been a choral singer since childhood. Experiences with early music in college and graduate school fostered a love of that genre, and at Bucknell she has started an informal Early Music Ensemble. She also enjoys collaborating on chamber music, and joining choirs of all kinds when she is lucky enough to have sabbatical leaves in great musical cities such as Boston, Montreal, and London.
Andrew Finck is the Director of Vocal Music at Midd-West High School where he conducts five ensembles and teaches courses in music theory. He performs semi-annually with the choir at Christ Episcopal Church in Williamsport and has previously appeared as soloist with the Susquehanna Valley Chorale in their production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” and with the Bucknell Rooke Chapel Choir in their performance of Schubert’s Mass in G. He holds degrees in Music Education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and Choral Conducting from The Hartt School, University of Hartford.