CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University announced that its Symphony Orchestra will bring a classic silent film to life with a screening featuring a specially-written score.

The orchestra, said WT, will present a synchronized performance of a score written by the university’s Dr. B.J. Brooks alongside a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid” at 7:30 p.m. on May 6 at Mary Moody Northen Recital Hall at the Canyon campus.

The university also announced that after the May 6 performance, the orchestra will take the film and score on the road for a series of other screenings:

  • May 10, 7:30 p.m.
    • La Rita Theatre, 311 Denrock Ave. in Dalhart
  • May 11, 7:30 p.m.
    • Mesquite Arts Center, 1527 N. Galloway Ave. in Mesquite
  • May 12, 7 p.m.
    • St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 3471 Westheimer Road in Houston

All of the concerts will be free for the public to attend, according to WT’s announcement.

The series of performances will be the latest in the Symphony Orchestra’s live cinema series that began in 2006, noted the university. Other performances have included soundtracks to other silent-era movie classics such as “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Iron Mask,” “The Mask of Zorro,” and “City Lights.”


“Silent films were not intended to be heard without music, so prior to the successful production of film with sound in the late 1920s, theaters employed musicians to provide accompaniment,” said Dr. Mark Bartley, director of orchestral activities, the Lilith Brainard Professor of Music and associate director of the School of Music, “Our Live Cinema series allows us to revisit that era with music specifically written for the action on the screen.”

Brooks described that for “The Kid” he watched the film without any soundtrack and improvised themes on the piano, focusing on how Chaplin developed the characters and moods involved.

“This will be the third time our orchestra performs this score, and it’s always a pleasure to hear it again,” Brooks said. “I really don’t remember every detail because I’ve written several hundred pieces since then, so there are always some happy surprises when I hear it being performed again.”

WT said that the Dalhart performance was made possible by the Louise C. and Gene F. Rahll Endowment for WT’s Showcase in a Suitcase program.