|The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra accompanies silent films in authentic period style. Most silent films did not have definitive scores—the music was left up to the musical directors of each theater, who pieced together scores from their music libraries. Mont Alto's repertoire includes several thousand orchestrations photocopied from the surviving collections of four silent film theater music directors. Although a movie palace orchestra could number as many as 100 musicians, small ensembles such as Mont Alto were much more common, and the music was carefully orchestrated to accommodate such smaller groups. Their work is incredible!|
Members of The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra are:
Kevin Johnson, Rodney Sauer, Susan Hall, Brian Collins and Mark Hyams
The 2003 celebration offered a host of wonderful speakers and topics!
See Schedule and Speakers (below) for details.
|Five talented actors comprised the St. George Mohawk Indian Medicine Show Players teamed onstage with professional mime Dan Kamin and local Buster Keaton look-alike Keith Goering to provide vaudeville "snippets" of live theatre throughout the celebration. Mohawk players included Judy Dockrey Young, Richard Alan Young, Connie High, and Mike Prince. On Saturday evening the players presented "Then Came the Storm," PERHAPS the melodrama performed in Piqua by a traveling troop containing Joe and Myra Keaton, on the evening of October 4, 1895. Buster was born there later that evening, and the rest is History!|
|Iola citizens and out-of-towners alike donate their time to making the Keaton Celebration a success each year. Volunteers plan the program, acquire speakers, promote the event, help with sales, answer questions, and keep the program running smoothly. Many thanks to our volunteers.|
Special thanks go to Kathy Metzenbauer of Wisconsin, sister of co-chair Frank Scheide of the Keaton planning committee. She created two unique throw pillows and a glorious quilt. Kathy has made three heirloom quilts, each raffled to raise funds for the next Keaton Celebration. Those who know Kathy missed her at this year's celebration and hope she can attend next year.
|Good crowds attended both the daytime symposium and the evening movie performance. Approximately 480 people signed registration books during daytime programing and each evening show was estimated at topping 450. On Saturday evening the upper balcony had to be opened—a sure sign of a good crowd. People attended the festivities from 16 U.S. states, 31 cities in Kansas and three foreign countries. Saturday night, in Steamboat Bill, Jr., Buster battled a fierce Mississippi cyclone and The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra received another standing ovation at the end of the evening's performance!|
|The Buster Keaton fans keep coming back. Martha came from West Virginia. Rochelle came from New Jersey ("This year I got time off from work."). Steve came from New York City in 2001. In 2002 he brought his wife, Maggie, and friend Karl. In 2003 they are all back and have Maggie's parents in tow. Lisa came from California with a new model-slim body. Darren, an optometry student from Berkley, CA, (whose first love is filmmaking) came to see this public showing of his homage film to Buster, The Scapegoat. He brought along his brother, Derrick, and friend, Mark. Here their film received a standing ovation. Dan and Doug came from the Kansas City, MO metropolitan area. Marion came from Topeka, and Ron came from Muskegon, MI. Keith is a hometown Iola fan. Other fans came from many states and cities. They are not pictured here, but all love Buster!|
Keaton was born near Iola, KS at Piqua in 1895
Funded by the Kansas
Humanities Council, with help from the Iola Tourism Fund
and private donors.
Photos & graphics ©2003 by Carol Yoho
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Check the Kansas Silent Film Festival web site. This is a free event held each February in Topeka, KS
I attended my eleventh Keaton Celebration in 2004, wearing eleven years of the celebration buttons I've made, plus some "extras." Iola is a wonderful community, with wide Kansas sunsets and friendly people.
Join us in 2004. —Carol