Relive the glory of early cinema’s silent films with a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” at The Avon Theatre on Saturday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m., with live music provided by members of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO).
“The Gold Rush” stars renowned actor, writer, director and composer Charlie Chaplin as his legendary movie character, “The Tramp,” a bumbling yet good-hearted fellow who travels to Alaska during the Gold Rush. Members of the MDSO will perform music from the soundtrack of the movie’s 1942 reissue to accompany the original 1925 version of the film. Prior to the screening, Skip Hutson, owner of The Avon Theatre, will present a preview titled “The Archeology of Cinema: The Lost Art of Silent Film.”
Music has always played a major role in movies, and in early cinema’s silent films, it was an indispensable part of storytelling. Live musicians (and occasionally, full orchestras) played descriptive snippets at appropriate times during the film, enhancing the experience and concealing the noise of primitive projection equipment.
Many modern symphonic organizations have their roots in these theatre orchestras, and the MDSO is no exception: one of its precursors, the Decatur Symphony Orchestra, was organized in 1926 by William Coll, director of the Lincoln Theatre pit orchestra. Many of the musicians were the same.
Tickets are $16.50 and are available through the Kirkland Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 217.424.6318 or online at www.kirklandfinearts.com. All tickets are general admission, including season tickets. Box Office hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A $2.50 fee will be charged for credit card purchases. This is a per transaction fee, not per ticket, and applies to online and Box Office orders. Remaining tickets may be purchased at the Avon Theatre on the evening of the event.