Vintage Buster Keaton silent movie to be screened to live organ accompaniment by Melvin Peters.
Musgrave Methodist Church: Sunday 27 October at 4pm
Musgrave Methodist Church is hosting a special one-off Sunday afternoon screening of Buster Keaton’s iconic 1920 black and white silent movie, The Scarecrow, with live organ accompaniment by Melvin Peters, in the church on Sunday 27 October at 4pm.
The afternoon programme will take place exactly ninety years to the day after the then brand- new organ had her first public recital and dedication ceremony which took place in the church on Sunday 27 October 1929.
The Scarecrow is a short 19-minute (two reel) family-friendly silent comedy film starring a youthful Buster Keaton. It is perhaps best known perhaps for its opening scene in which Buster and co-star Joe Roberts, are doing household chores with an array of delicious Heath-Robinson type ropes-and-pulley labour-saving devices. Later in the film Keaton tries desperately and comically to outrun Luke the dog – the real-life pet of silent movie pioneer, Fatty Arbuckle, who mentored Charlie Chaplin and discovered Buster Keaton. Buster’s real father does a turn as the furious farmer who realises his daughter and Buster’s character are in love.
The film will be accompanied by famed Durban jazz pianist and accomplished organist, Melvin Peters. He studied under the tutelage of Darius Brubeck in the early eighties and graduated with a Master of Music degree in 1989. He has been Music Director of St Paul’s Anglican Church in town for the past 15 years. He is a regular feature on the city’s jazz calendar and performs regularly locally and internationally – as a solo musician or with fellow jazz musicians and collaborators. Increasingly Peters works between Durban and our sister city Bremen in Germany. He is a respected organist known for performing sacred and secular works.
Continuing with the theme of bespoke music improvised for organ, the afternoon programme closes with a special piece devised for the occasion by Peters based on improvising from various well-known hymns.
The screening is to celebrate the extensive overhaul and refurbishment of Musgrave Methodist’s magnificent church organ by restoration enthusiast and historian Ed Montoccio. In his research Montoccio found out that she was designed and built specifically to accompany silent movies in their hey days in the 1920s. Instead of a career in a UK cinema she was shipped across on the HMS Umgeni and installed in Musgrave Methodist in October 1929. The idea for her to accompany a silent movie on her 90th birthday is to honour her showgirl roots – even if only for one afternoon.
Tickets may be purchased at the door for R80 / R50 for pensioners and children. Patrons may also contact the church office on 031 201 2005 for all enquiries and advance bookings.
The ticket includes afternoon tea in garden served from 3pm. In keeping with the theme, dress code for the afternoon is Black and White. All monies raised go towards the Musgrave Methodist building restoration fund.
Musgrave Methodist is 237 Musgrave Road on Durban’s Berea. There will be car guards in attendance.