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Free concert: Symphony chamber group to perform score for silent film at PAC tonight

'Stimulus Series' presentation of Mary Pickford in 'Daddy Long Legs' starts 7 p.m.

Posted: February 16, 2010 3:34 p.m.
Updated: February 23, 2010 12:50 p.m.

Dinner and a movie gotten a little too pricey these days? How about a movie and a concert... absolutely FREE and fun for the whole family?

That's exactly what you will get on Tuesday, Feb. 23, starting 7 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons, as six-piece ensemble comprised of members of our own Santa Clarita Symphony perform live to actress Mary Pickford's 1919 silent film comedy "Daddy Long Legs."

"We are thrilled to have been able to partner with the College of the Canyons and the Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education (MPI) to bring this fantastic family event to the community," said Symphony Marketing Director John Dow. "Audiences will be able to experience how movies were viewed 90 years ago."

And, there is more music, Dow noted, than traditional orchestral concerts. Many symphonic concerts contain about 70 to 75 minutes of music after stops, breaks and intermission. Here there will be 87 minutes of continuous music because the musicians are performing live to a film.

The music, composed by Maria Newman, will be directed by guest conductor Hugh Munro Neely. Pickford produced and starred in the film as Judy Abbott, an orphan whose college education is paid for by an anonymous trustee she knows only as "Daddy Long Legs." The comic gem was one of Pickford's greatest successes upon its original release.

"This event is a terrific opportunity for families, including children, to see wonderful and very accessible examples of two very special art forms: the classic art of silent film and contemporary classical music," Neely said. "Seen and heard together, they form an unforgettable experience. The Mary Pickford Institute for Film Education is especially proud to partner on this project with our composer-in-residence, Maria Newman."

Something About Mary...
Mary Pickford (1892-1979), known as "America's Sweetheart," was the first super-star of the movies. Her films, both comedy and drama, were loved by legions of fans, and by the age of 23 she was generally acknowledged to be the most famous woman in the world. A film actress from 1909, she began producing her own pictures in 1919, with "Daddy-Long-Legs."

Shortly thereafter she became one of the four original founders of United Artists, along with her second husband, Douglas Fairbanks. She and Fairbanks were also founding members of the Academy.

One of the most popular stars throughout the silent film era, she earned an Academy Award for "Coquette" (1928), her first talking picture. The following year Pickford and Fairbanks appeared together in the first sound film based on Shakespeare, "The Taming of the Shrew" (1929). Mary Pickford retired from screen work in 1933 after her fourth "talkie."

She continued to produce films until 1948, and thereafter devoted most of her time to charity. Her most beloved films include: "Tess of the Storm Country" (1914), "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" (1917), "Pollyanna" (1920), "My Best Girl" (1927), and of course, "Daddy Long Legs."

The Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons is located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia 91355.



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