Thursday, December 26, 2013

Wrapping up things for 2013:
Thoughts of a year in silent film music

Well, that's all folks. I've done my last silent film score for 2013. And I won't be back at the keyboard until mid-January, when I return from an extended journey to southern India. Wow, a whole month off!

But it's been an amazing year. Let's see...I logged 93 feature film performances, more or less, depending on how you classify them. That's an average of almost two each week! Most were around my home base of northern New England, but I also scored films in far-flung locations including Kansas, Kentucky, New York, and Arkansas.

Highlights included the Kansas Silent Film Festival in February, where I filled in for the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra after they were stranded by a Kansas blizzard; working with Jon Mirsalis and Andrew Simpson at Cinefest in Syracuse, N.Y.; accompanying 'The General' in May at the Carnegie Center in Covington, Kentucky (across the river from Cincinnati); being featured accompanist at the annual Keaton Celebration in Iola, Kansas in September; and doing music in October for the world "re-premiere" of 'Their First Misunderstanding,' a long-lost Mary Pickford drama that was found in a New Hampshire barn.

And what did I learn? Well, among other things, that a sense of drama and timing is just as important as musical technique. Especially when your technique is as limited as mine is. :)

Seriously, I find I can't answer that question without getting into a lot of long explanations and digressions. So on my list of projects to pursue in 2014 is possibly putting together a book about the whole weird subculture of using live music to help bring silent films back to life for modern audiences.

The title? How about this?

"Silent Film Accompaniment for Non-Musicians."

We'll see. For now, signing off for 2013. Happy holidays!

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