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Clark Wilson – Musical Genius with Silent Films To Perform May 22nd

Clark Wilson to perform at

Lincoln Hall in Foxburg.


ARCA proudly presents the McKissick Mighty Wurlitzer celebrated theatre organist and silent film scorer, Clark Wilson on Sunday, May 22 at 2 PM for an afternoon of popular theatre organ favorites and the delightful silent movie, ”The Freshman”, starring Harold Lloyd in Foxburg’s Lincoln Hall. His performances have received the highest marks from colleagues and professionals, one commenting that his was “the finest use of a theatre pipe organ that I have ever heard”. 

The Freshman is a 1925 American silent comedy film that tells the story of a college freshman trying to become popular by joining the school football team. The Freshman is widely considered one of Lloyd’s most hilarious, well-constructed films and was his most successful silent film of the 1920s. It remains one of Lloyd’s most enduring films.

Clark Wilson is one of the most prominent and recognized scorers of silent movies in America today. He works exclusively with the theatre organ in developing accurate and historic musical accompaniments as they were performed in major picture palaces during the heyday of the silent film.

He was awarded the American Theatre Organ Society’s Organist of the Year award in 1998, but as an acclaimed organ technician and consultant, he a has been professionally involved with over 200 pipe organ installations and earned the ATOS Technician of Merit award.  He is the only person to receive both distinctions.

Tickets: Adults $25, ARCA Members $20, Students $5. Buy online at or call 724-659-3153 to reserve.

Wilson began his scoring career in 1980 and has successfully toured North America with hundreds of film presentations at schools and universities, performing arts centers, theatres, film festivals, and conventions.  His work has led to performances for UCLA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where, in addition to other pictures, he has re-premiered “Wings” for Paramount Studios’ 100thAnniversary, the Chautauqua Institution, Cinequest and San Francisco film festivals, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the Packard Foundation’s Stanford Theatre film series, the Atlanta premier of the restored “Metropolis”, and annual presentations at the Atlanta Fox Theatre and for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Society at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. He is the organist of choice for many of the American Theatre Organ Society’s international convention silent film presentations, and he has scored pictures for Kino International for public DVD release. 

If the original score is no longer extant, a new one is prepared from the organist’s library and is normally transferred to a cue sheet – a “road map” of suggested themes and notated screen actions, which keep the organist fully on course. The development of themes in serious pictures is obtained exclusively in this way, and it must be considered the truest way to properly underscore screen action. Nothing is left to chance and wholesale improvisation is not relied upon. Further, the musical style of the time remains intact; no attempt is made to distract from the picture by using themes or styles that entered the musical scene years later. Most importantly, the film remains the focus and star of the performance.

Clark’s recording credits include seven albums. He has given all-transcription recitals for the American Guild of Organists ,played for the 1990 Organ Historical Society convention, and performed at numerous National and Regional conventions of the ATOS as well as a series of highly lauded workshops for young people’s Pipe Organ Encounters. Considered one of the finest practitioners of silent picture scoring, he has also been a visiting lecturer on Theatre Organ and photoplay accompaniment for the Indiana University organ department. 

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