The Center at Maple Grove Cemetery will host an Elegant Afternoon of High Tea on Saturday, March 10, at 5 p.m., but the aromatic beverage is only a small part of the menu.

The Kew Gardens graveyard’s friends group has been commemorating the centennial of World War I’s end with a series of events recently, and Saturday’s soiree celebrates the year 1914.

Tea doyenne Helen Day will offer a lecture on the history of tea with plenty of information on the popular way to consume the beverage just before WWI broke out. (Spoiler alert: A member of the British royal family, Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, is credited with inventing and promoting afternoon tea in 1840. In her household, dinner was served fashionably late at 8 p.m., according to legend, and she would get very hungry at about 4 p.m.)

The Undertones, a local group that frequently performs at Maple Grove, will play period music. And attendees are asked to wear the clothes, gloves, and garden party hats that were popular in the early 20th century. In fact, judges will offer an award to the person with the best outfit.

And keeping with the theme, tea in ornate teacups, finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, fruit, and assorted desserts will be served.

The friends group has dedicated the afternoon to Tony Sbarbaro, who is buried in Maple Grove. Born on June 27, 1897, this professional drummer played with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band for more than 50 years. After joining in 1917, he became the leader in the 1940s and remained with the ensemble until its dissolution in the 1960s.

Sbarbaro had a unique style. He used wood blocks, cowbells, and Chinese tom-toms, and he preferred a technique known as “double-drumming” or hitting the bass drum with the butt end of the drum stick. At times, he put stuffed animals inside drums to change their sound.

The Undertones will perform several songs by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Admission is $30.

Images: Friends of Maple Grove Cemetery


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