Giving thanks for silent films at the Byrd

Silent Music Revival organizer Jameson Price and his band Lobo Marino perform the soundtrack to a silent film for #GiveThanksRVA’s event celebrating the Byrd Theatre

Films take on new meaning when soundtracks are changed.

That’s the idea of the [Silent Music Revival] series, the monthly event that screens a classic, short silent movie while a local band plays a score to accompany it. The band doesn’t see the film beforehand and must improvise the music on the spot.

Series organizer and Richmond musician Jameson Price is an avid silent film lover and when watching them with friends, would pick random vinyl to play during the film, which provided a new soundtrack.

“I love silent films, I have been interested in them since high school. Once live music became a part of the event, I would spend hours and hours selecting films that I thought fit the vibe of the band.”

As interest and attendance began to grow, Price knew he needed a public space, so he started the Silent Music Revival in 2006 at Nonesuch Gallery on Grace Street (the current home of Insomnia Cookies), and it’s gained a steady following.

Over the past 10 years, the event has been held in venues like Rumors Boutique, the Firehouse Theatre, and currently at Gallery5. Metal bands, acoustic singers, hip hop artists–they’ve all performed to silent films, and every show is a packed house.

A bigger screen, a bigger cause

On Saturday, November 14th, give thanks for the Byrd. #GiveThanksRVA will be hosting a day of fun at the Byrd Theatre for a day of fun. The doors will open at 2:00 PM as Byrd staff and board members welcome guests to experience the historic theatre’s classic legacy and learn more about its future–The Byrd Theatre Foundation will be there to share exciting details about upcoming plans.

The event will also be special because Price’s own band, Lobo Marino, which consists of himself and Laney Sullivan) will be making its Silent Music Revival debut, performing the soundtrack to some classic silent French films.

And in keeping with the theme of the Revival, Price doesn’t know what the film is going to be.

“Silent Music Revival is special in that the musicians do not see the film beforehand and therefore allow their music take on new life as the film’s improvised score,” Price says. “So the #GiveThanksRVA event is specifically different from any other Silent Music Revival because I will have nothing to do with the film selection. The film will be a surprise for me too. Hopefully the music of Lobo Marino will fit the pace and aesthetic of the films selected, but we’ll see. It’s exciting this way.”

“To this day, so many bands that have played the event over the years tell me it’s one of their favorite shows to date. It’s a way for your music to have new life outside of its melody,” he says. “It’s a dream come true for me, I have always wanted a Silent Music Revival to happen at the Byrd.”

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#GiveThanksRVA to The Byrd takes place at the Byrd Theatre on Saturday, November 14th from 2:00 – 6:00 PM.

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Andrew Cothern

Andrew Cothern is the founder and editor of RVA Playlist, a music site that showcases events, concerts, album, show reviews, and opinion pieces that focus on the vibrant local music scene in Richmond.

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