June 5, 2023

Ragtime comes to Lehigh Valley

The Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra is bringing the magic of the silent film era to Northampton Community College’s Lipkin Theatre on March 14, 2020 at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

“PRSO brings together people of all generations,” said Kelley Atwood, director and founder of Lehigh Valley Youth Chorus. “They recreate what it was like [during the silent film era] for the audience.”

The Lehigh Valley Youth Chorus, a youth chorus in residence at NCC, raised the money to bring PRSO to NCC for their Lehigh Valley debut. 

The Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra plays accompaniment to silent films such as Charlie Chaplin’s The Rink. Audiences can experience that sense of community that came from going to a silent film during the early 1900s. 

The audience that went to movies in the silent film era was different from today’s moviegoer audience.

“Back in the day, it [movie going] was a social event,” Atwood said. 

It wasn’t an everyday event. Families would make an outing out of it. Live musicians would accompany the film. No cell phones were required to be silenced. People laughed out loud with the movie. They booed the bad guy and cheered proudly for the good guy. And all through, the music kept the energy alive. 

“[Ragtime] is a wonderful American tradition. It was the first popular American music,” Atwood said. Music accompanying film is, she adds, “what came before special effects.”

In an age of hushed theaters, silenced phones, special effects, live-action, and impossible stunts, it can be good to get back to basics. And that’s exactly what the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra aims to do. 

It’s a chance to watch three silent films featuring Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (Laurel and Hardy), while enjoying the musical accompaniment of the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra. 

The Lehigh Valley Youth Chorus will also be joining the orchestra for a few sets. Don’t miss this opportunity to relive the movie world of the early 1900s and roaring 20s on March 14, at 7 p.m. at the Lipkin Theatre at NCC.

 Buy tickets at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/14994 or at the door (cash only). 

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