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The World's Columbian Exposition in Music and Story

  • Second Presbyterian Church 1936 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL, 60616 United States (map)

Step back in time 125 years to relive the grandeur and majesty that was the World's Columbian Exposition.  The Fair was attended by 27 million people between May and October 1893 and secured Chicago's place as a world-class city.

This very special performance will feature musical selections related to the fair, performed on the historic 4 manual Austin organ of Second Presbyterian Church by its music director Michael Shawgo.  Music was an integral part of the fair, ranging from formal concerts by the Exposition Orchestra led by Theodore Thomas, to six-weeks of band concerts led by John Philip Sousa.  The Midway introduced Fair visitors to a variety of music from around the world, much of which had never been heard in the United States.  

October 28th also marks the 125th anniversary of the assassination of five-time Chicago mayor Carter H. Harrison, Sr.  The tragic event sent the city into deep mourning and the elaborate celebration planned to close the Fair just two days later was replaced by a large public memorial service.  

Commentary during the performance will provide a rich variety of stories about the Fair, its impact on Chicago and the world, and how Chicagoans honored their fallen mayor as the Fair drew to a close.

Doors will open at 2:00pm for docent-led tours of the National Historic Landmark sanctuary.  A reception will feature selected food items introduced at the Fair, including brownies which were developed at the request of Bertha Palmer.  A small exhibit of Fair memorabilia will be on display.

This event is co-sponsored by Glessner House Museum and Friends of Historic Second Church.

$25 per person / $20 for members

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