Ohio native to perform music for silent movie screening at Forrest Burdette Memorial UMC

Clark Wilson
Organist Clark Wilson will play the Harrah Symphonic Organ during a showing of the silent film "Steamboat Willie, Jr." March 9 at Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church.
The Putnam Review
February 21, 2018

Clark Wilson, one of the mort prominent and recognized scorers of silent photoplays in America, will provide the music for the annual "Silent Movie" event Friday, March 9 at Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church in Hurricane.

An Ohio native who resides in East Liverpool, Wilson began his musical training at the age of 9. While growing up, he accompanied numerous state musicals. He started his scoring career in 1980 and has toured North America with hundreds of film presentations at schools, universities, performing arts centers, theaters, film festivals and conventions. Wilson has been the resident organist at the Ohio Theatre for the Columbus Associate for Performing Arts since 1992 and is responsible for all of the music during the yearly classic movie series.

"Steamboat Bill, Jr." is a 1928 silent comedy film staring Buster Keaton. Released by United Artists, the film is the last product of Keaton's independent production team and set of gag writers. It was the final motion picture Keaton made for United Artists.

Keaton plays the owner and captain of an aging paddle steamer and is in serious competition with a luxurious riverboat owner (John James King). The plot of the movie thickens when Canton's son comes home from college and becomes smitten with King's daughter.

Pipesounds, with the Putnam County Bank sponsoring the event, is welcoming Wilson back to Hurricane to perform on the church's world-class Harrah Symphonic Organ during the film.

The Harrah Symphonic draw-knob, console organ was designed and fashioned by Allen Harrah of Charleston, a Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church member.

According to the PipeSounds web site, the organ is composed of 2,588 pipes and 456 draw knobs, combining traditional and digital musical equipment and featuring 64 computers and approximately 150 speaker systems.

The organ was made possible through the efforts of the United Methodist Women of Forrest Burdette, who raised more than $200,000 to pay for the instrument, which was introduced in the church's sanctuary in 2003.

Wilson's program will get underway at 7 p.m. on March 9. Admission is $10 per person. Children 5 and younger are admitted free.

Following Wilson's March performance, the PipeSounds 2017-18 Concert Series at Forrest Burdette Memorial United Methodist Church will conclude in April with a pops concert by Rob Richards on the Harrah organ.

A concert and recording artist, Richards is the house organist at Walt Disney's historic El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, where has given more than 4,000 performances since 1999.

Richards' PipeSounds pops concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, April 15.

Forrest Burdette United Methodist Church is located at 2848 Putnam Ave. in Hurricane. For more information or directions, call 304-562-5903 or visit www.pipesounds.org.

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