Manasota Theatre Organ Society Presents
Silent Film Scorer and Theatre Organist Clark Wilson
Performing Original Score to 1927 Silent Movie
on Historic Wurlitzer Theatre Organ
February 15 § Grace Church
Called a “master of silent film and showman of the first order” by film critic Leonard Maltin, Wilson is considered one of the finest practitioners of the art of silent picture scoring in the world.
(Sarasota, FL) In the second of three 2015 performances, the Manasota Theatre Organ Society (MTOS) is bringing world-renowned silent film accompanist Clark Wilson to perform on the historic Wurlitzer theatre organ it owns and maintains in Grace Church, February 15, 2:30 p.m. Wilson will perform his original score to the silent movie, “The Kid Brother,” a 1927 comedy starring Harold Lloyd. Wilson is one of the leading scorers of silent photoplays in America today. He works exclusively with the pipe organ in developing accurate and historic musical accompaniments as they were performed in major picture palaces during the heyday of the silent film. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Performances are held at Grace Church, 8000 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Concerts are at 2:30 p.m.; doors open at 1:45 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 941-776-3668. The church is located 2-1/2 miles east of I-75 and there is ample free and handicapped parking available.
“Clark Wilson possesses the artistry of the best of the many skilled film accompanists from the 1920s,” says MTOS president, John Fischer. “When the motion picture industry engaged Clark for one of its own milestone celebrations (“Wings” for Paramount Studios’ 100th anniversary) you can be assured they knew exactly what they were doing. Likewise, Clark’s annual silent film presentations on the remarkable pipe organ at Disney Hall in Los Angeles only reinforces our good fortune in inspiring him to come to Sarasota to work his musical magic for us. His art gives us insight into the most popular entertainment of the 1920s and American popular culture.”
Called a “master of silent film and showman of the first order” by noted film critic Leonard Maltin, Wilson is considered one of the finest practitioners of the art of silent picture scoring in the world. He has performed around the world, including in such celebrated halls as the Chautauqua Institution in New York, the Packard Foundation’s Stanford Theatre, and at the Fox Theatre for the Atlanta premier of the restored “Metropolis.” His work has led to performances for UCLA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where, in addition to other pictures, he re-premiered “Wings” for Paramount Studios’ 100th anniversary. Wilson accompanies a silent picture annually on the organ series at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and has performed at both the Cinequest Festival and San Francisco Silent Film Festival. Since 1992, Clark has served as resident organist and organ conservator at the famed Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio.
Clark was personally influenced by, and subsequently became close friends with Chicago area organist John Muri, who was an original master of picture accompaniment and practiced his art well into the 1980s. His (and Wilson’s) historic style was that of utilizing fine music as a basis for developing a score of musical value. If the original score is no longer extant, a new one is prepared from the organist’s library and is normally transferred to a cue sheet–somewhat of a “road map” of suggested themes and notated screen actions that keep the organist fully on course. The development of themes in serious pictures is obtained exclusively in this way, and it must be considered the truest way to properly underscore screen action. Nothing is left to chance and wholesale improvisation is not relied upon. Further, the musical style of the time remains intact; no attempt is made to distract from the picture by using themes or styles that entered the musical scene years later. Most important of all, the film remains the focus and star of the performance.
The MTOS season continues on March 15, when the president of the American Theatre Organ Society, Ken Double, accompanied by vocalist Amy Connours, will perform popular solos and a surprise duet.
“The grand old theatre organ has one universal purpose,” says Fischer. “It exists to enrich the lives of listeners with the sounds of beautiful music. I’m happy to say, thanks to the work of Manasota Theatre Organ Society, it’s doing exactly that.”
About Manasota Theatre Organ Society
Manasota Theatre Organ Society (MTOS), a branch of the American Theatre Organ Society, was founded in November 1991. Its first project was the renovation of the 1926 Aeolian Duo Art pipe organ in the Charles Ringling Mansion, which is now part of New College of the University of South Florida. MTOS strives to promote the awareness of America’s theater pipe organ heritage and continues to present concerts featuring the 4/32 Wurlitzer theater pipe organ located at Grace Church in Sarasota.