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Chaplin/Keaton films presented with live ragtime orchestra at CCU

October 20, 2009

A rare musical and cinematic experience is in store at Coastal Carolina University on Monday, Nov. 9. The Clown Princes, a program of films starring the supreme artists of silent cinema -- Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton -- will be presented accompanied by a live ragtime orchestra performing the original, synchronized musical scores. The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Wheelwright Auditorium.

Rick Benjamins Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is world renowned for its authentic recreation of the music of the silent cinema. The ensemble will perform the original scores of two comedy shorts: Behind the Screen (1916), starring and directed by Charlie Chaplin, and Cops (1922), starring Buster Keaton. While the films are playing on a giant screen, the orchestra performs the music from the original scores.

Tickets are $15 and $20 depending on seat choice, alumni and seniors receive a $5 discount, OLLI members receive a $5 discount, teens and children receive a $5 discount. Faculty and staff of Coastal and HGTC are $10, and students of both are $5 with a valid ID.

The Juilliard-trained Benjamin has built a career on the discovery and performance of lost American music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is the founder and director of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, which uses his 10,000-title collection of antique theater and dance orchestra music (c.1875-1925) as the basis of its repertoire.

The orchestra was organized after Benjamin discovered thousands of turn-of-the-century orchestra scores that had belonged to recording star and bandleader Arthur Pryor. In 1988, the orchestra made its formal debut at Lincoln Center. Since then Paragon Ragtime Orchestra has performed at many leading arts venues, including the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Chautauqua, the Brucknerhaus in Austria and the American Dance Festival.