100 year Anniversary of the Silent Film Era inside The Historic SunnyBrook Ballroom
Three Silent Film Shorts and a Musical Journey
Featuring the Music and Historical Insights of Theatre Organist Ian Fraser
Three short films will feature the talents of legendary actors Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, Mack Sennett, and Harold Lloyd following their exploits in fun-filled amusement parks from Coney Island, NY to Long Beach, CA.
At Coney Island (1912), stars Mabel Normand and Mack Sennett who were storied actors, screenwriters, directors, producers, studio chiefs, business partners and lovers that helped establish Hollywood, discover Charlie Chaplin, invent slapstick and originate the pie-in-the-face gag. Buster Keaton’s physical comedy is evident in Coney Island (1917) an early career film showcasing classic rides at Coney Island alongside star/mentor Fatty Arbuckle. Rounding out the lineup is Number Please? (1920) starring Harold Lloyd delivering his trademark chases and incredible stunts at a Long Beach, CA amusement park to win over his love interest.
The Organist, His Music and the History
Ian Fraser, from nearby Plainfield, discovered his talents at the age of 16 when offered the chance to play a theatre organ for the first time after watching Bernie Anderson play for a silent film at Chaminade High School in Long Island. Self-taught and playing by ear without the help of music sheets, Ian will accompany each film with a score he improvises as he watches the films along with the audience. The music and sound effects will seamlessly fit each scene from high-energy chase scenes to tender moments to hilarious pratfalls. The result is an audience guaranteed to laugh and quickly forget that the films are actually silent.
In between each film Ian will reveal the stories behind the movies, the actors, the music, the organ and the Brook Theatre. Ian promised that the history presentation “will have something for everyone delivered with a musical journey from the 1910s through 1930s that ties it all together.”
- Sunday July 23rd, 2023
- at The Historic SunnyBrook Ballroom
- Doors open at 1:30 PM. The Films start at 2pm
- Full Bar available and light concessions
About The Organist Ian Fraser:
Ian Fraser’s fascination with organs started at the age of two when he heard a band organ on a local carousel in his hometown of Staten Island, NY. His interests soon expanded into the world of mechanical music with player pianos, orchestrions, etc. When he was 16, after seeing a silent film at Chaminade High School in Mineola, NY in 2017, he got the chance to sit at the console and play the theatre organ for the first time. From there, he has followed his passion to become a theatre organist. Leveraging his ability to play by ear, Ian has taught himself in just a few short years to play the theatre organ. This has been influenced by studying his favorite genres and organists.
Now residing in Plainfield, NJ, Ian is the house organist at the St. George Theatre in Staten Island playing pre-shows for their Classic Movie Series and Arts-In-Education program. He has also performed at the Bardavon Opera House, the Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Rahway Senior Center, and the Trenton War Memorial.
Ian is a board member of NYTOS (New York Theatre Organ Society) and Vice President of AMICA’s Lady Liberty Chapter (Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors Association). He is also a member of COAA (Carousel Organ Association of America), NCA (National Carousel Association), GSTOS (Garden State Theatre Organ Society) and ATOS (American Theatre Organ Society).