A swashbuckling Douglas Fairbanks will be brought to life as renowned silent film accompanist Ben Model plays the Heefner Memorial Organ at Ursinus College for the original Zorro film. The free program is Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in Bomberger Auditorium.
Ben Model is one of the nation’s leading silent film accompanists, performing both piano and theater organ. Over the past 30-plus years he has created and performed live scores for several hundred silent films lasting anywhere from one minute to five hours. The resident film accompanist at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York city, and at the Library of Congress’ Packard Campus Theatre, his recorded scores can be heard on numerous DVD/Blu-Ray releases, on TCM and on his YouTube channel. Model is a regular accompanist at classic film festivals around the U.S. and in Norway, and performs at universities, museums, and historic theaters. He is the producer and co-founder of The Silent Clowns Film Series, now in its 18th season in NYC. Model’s composed ensemble scores for films by Chaplin and Keaton are performed around the U.S. every year by orchestras and by concert bands. Ben has co-curated a number of film series for MoMA, and also programmed two recent DVD box sets of Ernie Kovacs television shows. He can be found on Twitter: @silentfilmmusic; and his web site is www.silentfilmmusic.com.
The 62-rank Heefner Memorial Organ, was built by hand by Austin Organs of Hartford, Conn. The 3,593 pipes made of different types of metal and of wood, were installed over the summer of 1986. The organ has three manuals and 77 stops in four divisions, and operates through an electropneumatic action system in which air is pumped through a series of ducts. The organ was one of the first Austin built that uses an electronic memory system.