The University of Lethbridge is visiting Downton Abbey at least in spirit with a special concert in the University of Lethbridge Recital Hall, Feb. 28.
“I’m a huge fan of Downton Abbey. I love it. I love the music, I love the costumes. I love everything,” said Dr. Blane Hendsbee who recruited a dozen of his students to participate in the Saturday night soirée which is part of the Faculty Artists and Friends concert series, which combines the talents of University of Lethbridge professors and their students and their friends for five different concerts throughout the year
“Some of the songs have been performed in the show,” Hendsbee said adding others are drawn from the eras. The 15 selections are six minutes long or shorter, in tune with actual soirées which took place during the actual time period.
“This was their entertainment. There was no television or radio and early in the Victorian era, no record players. And people had short attention spans then,” he said adding as result such soirées never featured full productions, just excerpts.
“There will be something for everybody. We’re all on stage at the same time and at the end we all come out dressed in outfits from the Roaring ’20s— like this,” he said, indicating his plum velvet smoking jacket and bow-tie.
Performers include Blaine Hendsbee (tenor) and Sandra Stringer (mezzo-soprano) accompanied by pianists Glen Montgomery and Magdalena von Eccher, Airdre Robinson on violin and Mark Rodgers on cello. Music majors Alyssa Durnie, Madison Craig, Camille Rogers and Melanie York also perform.
“ There is a huge crossover. It will feature music from the Late Victorian era, Georgian and the Roaring ’20s. It was a radical new age and a huge period of social and political change. The costumes are evocative of that period,” Hendsbee enthused adding selections include ragtime jazz, selections like “Three Little Maids From School we are” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera “the Mikado.”