Orchestra plays along with silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

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The lights were dimmed. The auditorium fell quiet. On the screen above the stage, the film began rolling, and with the opening title came the soft hum of the orchestra’s instruments as they began their piece.

On January 29, at seven PM, the orchestra presented The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a silent horror film made in 1920. Every year, the orchestra shows a silent film and plays an accompanying score that was created by a local composer. Like last year’s showing of the silent film, Nosferatu, this year’s showing of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was an exciting blend of old-school horror and beautiful music that perfectly captures each feeling of each scene. The film told the story of a seeming insane doctor that used hypnosis to control a somnambulist, better known as a sleepwalker, in order to kill people. The story combined with the scenery created a skin-crawling vibe that the orchestra’s musical score only amplified. Hoang, sophomore and viola player, spoke about the performance.

“I feel that the performance has really showcased all the hard work and dedication that us and our director, Laurette Reynosa have put in to it,” Hoang said. “I hope that our guest composer, who generously donated his music, also enjoyed the show. I really enjoyed the pieces composed by our guest. I admire the very melodic solos that both challenged and showcased the abilities of our talented principal chairs.”

The hour long movie seemed to fly by in the audience, but to the orchestra, it seemed to go on forever. Hoang spoke about how he felt after the show.

“I feel exhausted,” Hoang said. “It takes a lot of focus to sit through 70 minutes of playing, and it is even harder not to miss your queues with a movie rolling.”

The orchestra had a lot of practice to make sure that they got their performance perfect. Beginning their practice in late November, the musicians had about two months to refine the piece. Their work had obviously paid off because the show was spectacular.

The orchestra will begin working on competition pieces for UIL in the Spring.