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They Said it Couldn’t Be Done: silent film & High School band

Last night I attended the premiere of my concert band arrangement of my Adventurer score. The score was a big hit, and the evening itself was quite wonderful. My wife and daughter came out to Milford CT early and we were hosted for dinner by Dr. Ralph Barbiero and his lovely wife Marsha before going to Jonathan Law High School for the performance. Paul Marino (conductor) and the JLaw chamber ensemble did a great job on the score, and were either in perfect synch or a little ahead (way better than being behind), and got a huge hand and standing “O” at the end.

The whole evening was a combination spring concert and final report by Dr. Barbiero’s AP History students. A couple of kids spoke for a few minutes about an aspect of the silent film era, then the band played a selection, and they went back and forth like this through four pieces before introducing the Chaplin short. One piece was by my high school band director, Carl Strommen, and the piece that preceded the Chaplin segment of the program was Leroy Anderson’s The Syncopated Clock. The band sounded great, and they and Mr. Marino were one tight ensemble. There was also a show program, prepared by the AP History students, that had well-researched pages on not only the silent era, but also Chaplin and Edna Purviance, Eric Campbell and Henry Bergman. All in all, very impressive!

Here are some photos from the evening:

L to R: Dr. Ralph Barbiero, me, Paul Marino

Here I am with Janet Garagliano, Principal of the school. This program
would not have happened without her enthusiastic support. She sat in
front of me during the performance and I think was laughing harder
than anyone in the auditorium at the Chaplin film. It’s hard to see in
the photo, but Janet is holding a copy of “The Silent Clowns”, which
I presented to her and the school with my gratitude.

L to R: Ralph Barbiero, his wife Marsha, me, my daughter Molly,
and my wife Mana; this was probably the first time they’d sat next
to me during a silent film show while hearing one of my scores
(I’m usually at the piano or organ). This show was also the first
time I’d ever heard the “Adventurer” score live in performance.

Here I am with stuntman and Keaton enthusiast Cliff Cronan,
who lives near Milford. Cliff did a presentation on Keaton and
stunting at the Silent Clowns Film Series in December 2006.
The AP History students presented Dr. Barbiero, Mr. Marino
and me with flowers, chocolate and a wonderful thank-you note.

It was a great evening, and I look forward to working with Paul Marino and the Jonathan Law band, Dr. Barbiero and his AP History students as well as Principal Garagliano again.

See you at the silents!

Ben Model
silent film composer/accompanist

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