Entertainment

Palm Court set to go all British on us

Sonny Shams -
Sonny Shams
— image credit:

Brit-hit Downton Abbey comes to musical life Sunday during the fall premiere of the Palm Court Orchestra.

The award-winning British TV  drama is set during the Edwardian era and the Roaring Twenties. And it's soundtracks provides the ingredients for conductor Charles Job and experts in all things light and classical.

"While the show's soundtrack consists of music composed especially for the series, many episodes feature compositions popular at the time," PCO spokeswoman Judith Martin said in a press release. "The music featured in this concert would have been heard variously on the stage, at the bandstand in the park or at the end of the pier, and in the Downton Abbey drawing room in in-house recitals and performances."

Arthur Sullivan's rollicking overture to The Pirates of Penzance, Roger Quilter's Suite from Where the Rainbow Ends, Edward Elgar's popular salon piece Chanson de Matin and the Waltz: Song of Autumn —  reputedly the last dance tune played by Wallace Hartley's Resident Orchestra aboard the Titanic — are all in the program.

Sidney-based tenor Sunny Shams will be the Palm Court's featured guest.

Shams began his career as a jazz pianist  at the Victoria Conservatory of Music before pursuing vocal training in the UBC Opera Programme. Shams performed the role of Rudolfo in Puccini's opera La Boheme in Prague and had also appeared with the Vancouver and Victoria Symphonies.

The Flower Song" from Bizet's Carmen, Handel's Silent Worship, An English Rose from Edward German's operetta Merrie England and One Alone from the musical Desert Song by Sigmund Romberg are among the pieces he will be featured.

The Palm Court Light concludes the concert with It's a Long Way to Tipperary and George M. Cohan's Over There.

"Downton Abbey's downstairs staff would have enjoyed these popular songs from the Great War at the local music hall," Martin said.

The Palm Court Light Orchestra presents Downton Abbey at the Cowichan Theatre, Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2.30 pm. Tickets are available at the Island Savings Centre box office. Call 250-748-7529.

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