Wide Chorus StandingOn March 18, the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra will perform The Music of Downton Abbey, a collection of hymns, songs, and orchestral numbers from the acclaimed MASTERPIECE series and the Edwardian era. We went behind the scenes to explore what to expect from the performance.

Costumes! Edwardian era costumes! SCSO’s chorus members are excited to be dressed in full Edwardian garb during the show! Prepare to be transported back in time with charming visuals: everything from pristine white aprons for the women to classy formal bowties for the men. It will feel just like you’ve stepped onto the grounds of Highclere Castle and on the set of Downton Abbey!

Setting the mood for The Music of Downton Abbey is conductor and music master Donald Kendrick. His passion for music could fill a room, and he pulls out all the stops to fine tune each song with intensity and refinement. But he credits the choir for their success. “They are an amazing group of dedicated citizens who realize the powerful impact singing can have in the world.”

SCSO Donald Kendrick
Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra conductor Donald Kendrick.

Kicking off the evening is a number entitled “I Was Glad,” which is famously known as the coronation song for British monarchs. Lindsey Logan, an 18-year veteran of SCSO, gave us some royal insight about the anthem: Anytime the song is performed in public there is one line they are required to omit because it can only be sung at an actual coronation ceremony. It is customized to suit the newly ennobled king or queen. “I Was Glad” was also performed at Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles and at Prince William’s marriage to the newest royal bride, Princess Kate.

Check out this excerpt from “I Was Glad” from a rehearsal for The Music of Downton Abbey.

Whether royal or common, this concert reminds listeners that music brings out powerful emotions, and the music behind the show was top of the line. When we think of Downton Abbey we think of extravagant dress, snarky banter, and historic retrospect. But Andrea Mack, one of the newest members of the SCSO, asserts that fans will find a new appreciation for the series in its instrumental backdrop. Without the violins behind Matthew’s unexpected death or jazzy brass instruments welcoming in the ‘20s, these iconic moments from Downton Abbey would be far less impactful.

SCSO Andrea Mack
Andrea Mack is one of the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra’s newest members, having joined in January. She says both fans and those unfamiliar with the series, like herself, will find a renewed appreciation for post-Edwardian music.

If you go, be sure to arrive early and stick around late. Before the evening performance, conductor Kendrick will host a pre-show chat with the audience at 7PM. This is your chance to find out more about The Music of Downton Abbey before experiencing it live in concert. Following the show, VIP donors from KVIE and Capital Public Radio will enjoy tea with Kendrick, soloists, and members from the orchestra and chorus – and life-size cutouts of some favorite Downton Abbey characters.

You can purchase tickets to The Music of Downton Abbey here. Explore the unique Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra through an episode of our documentary series, ViewFinder, or watch a segment of KVIE Arts Showcase about the society (segment begins at 16:10).

Behind the scenes of The Music of Downton Abbey with SCSO