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"A Victorian Christmas"

Dear Friends,  A small, costumed ensemble from Canterbury Choral Society presented "A Victorian Christmas" last December in a large home here in Oklahoma City and performed an abbreviated "Messiah" with strings and harpsichord.  This year we are performing in another, larger location and will perform all unaccompanied literature.  I am looking for texts that can be inserted between the carols and anthems that tell the story of Christmas and welcome the crowd as if it was a Victorian home in the 19th century.  I have found some things but would welcome your help on this.  I am not looking for madrigal feast narrations although there may be portions of celebrations that would work for what I am trying to do.  I would appreciate your help.
 
Randi Von Ellefson
rvonellefson(a)okcu.edu
on October 29, 2011 11:28am
Have a look at "Eddi's service" by Rudyard Kipling - Google it to ensure i've got title and author correct!
on October 29, 2011 11:55am
Take a look at Washington Irving's story, "The Christmas Dinner", from his memoirs of traveling in England - http://www.classicreader.com/book/1061/5/
 
 According to Wikipedia, Irving, who lived in the earlier part of the Victorian era, had a lasting influence on the way Americans celebrate Christmas.
 
  " One of Irving's most lasting contributions to American culture is in the way Americans perceive and celebrate Christmas. In his 1812 revisions to A History of New York, Irving inserted a dream sequence featuring St. Nicholas soaring over treetops in a flying wagon—a creation others would later dress up as Santa Claus. In his five Christmas stories in The Sketch Book, Irving portrayed an idealized celebration of old-fashioned Christmas customs at a quaint English manor, that depicted harmonious warm-hearted English Christmas festivities he experienced while staying in Aston Hall, Birmingham, England, that had largely been abandoned.[100] He used text from The Vindication of Christmas (London 1652) of old English Christmas traditions, he had transcribed into his journal as a format for his stories.[101] The book contributed to the revival and reinterpretation of the Christmas holiday in the United States.[102] Charles Dickens later credited Irving as an influence on his own Christmas writings, including the classic A Christmas Carol."
 
Also there is Thomas Hardy's description of a mummers' play in "The Return of the Native" (1878), which is a Christmas tradition in England.
 
Have fun with your programming!
 
Nancy 
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