Party Like It's 1904 at Historical Uptown Concert Reenactment

By Nigel Chiwaya on April 23, 2014 5:25pm 

 Washington Heights Musical Society organizers Christina Arethas and Alexandra Snyder Dunbar will be decked out in early 1900s outfits for their May 4 performance at Holyrood Church.
Washington Heights Musical Society organizers Christina Arethas and Alexandra Snyder Dunbar will be decked out in early 1900s outfits for their May 4 performance at Holyrood Church.
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DNAinfo/Nigel Chiwaya

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Touch up your Gibson girl hairdos and break out your finest tailcoat because an uptown music group is taking residents back in time.

The Washington Heights Musical Society will be transporting visitors back to a time before the George Washington Bridge when it re-creates a 110-year-old concert next month.

Musicians and opera singers will dress in period garb for the May 4 performance, scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. at Holyrood Episcopal Church. And they will play the same pieces that the Musical Society performed at the original show, including pieces by Felix Medelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Anton Strelezki. 

"We want it to feel like you're back in the 1900s," said organizer Alexander Snyder Dunbar, who revived the Washington Heights Musical Society after stumbling across the 1904 concert program while sifting through documents at Holyrood last year.

To that end the performers will be decked out according to the era, with women wearing puffy-sleeved blouses, skirts with bustles and men wearing tuxedos and white ties.

The musicians, who will be aided by uptown's Cornerstone Chorale, will be playing pieces that are not widely performed anymore, but are indicative of the changing times.

"The music is reflective of where they were," said organizer Christina Arethas, an opera singer. "They were starting to be more modern."

Organizers also said that Danielle Oteri from Feast on History will give a presentation before the performance, showcasing the castles, estates and people that inhabited Washington Heights during the early 1900s. 

"This was a kind of a backwoods kind of place in 1904," Dunbar said. "It was just on the edge of change, because the subways had just come up here."

The event will feature wines from Columbia Wine, along with light snacks. Admission is free and suggested donation is $50. For more information visit washingtonheightsmusicalsociety.com.

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