Pianist to provide music for silent swashbuckler PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor   
Friday, 04 January 2013 11:12
Pianist Lynn Long at her home. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Pianist Lynn Long, of Grand Rapids, has played in a lot of different settings in the four decades since graduating from college, and on Saturday and Sunday she gets to add accompanying Douglas Fairbanks Sr. to her resume.
The swashbuckling movie icon stars in "The Black Pirate," the annual silent movie feature for the Live in the House series in Pemberville and Grand Rapids. Long has been tapped this year to provide the piano accompaniment for the film.
The film will be shown Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Pemberville Opera House and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Grand Rapids Town Hall Opera House. Tickets are $10 at the door or in advance at Beeker's General Store or Riverbank Antiques in Pemberville, Washers in Grand Rapids or by calling Carol Bailey at (419) 287-4848.
The program, Long said, offers a new beginning after the holidays.
After six weeks of playing Christmas music at venues including the Manor House in Toledo, Long said, "it's time to put the Christmas music away and start thinking of spring."
Accompanying the music offers the veteran performer a chance to dig deep into her repertoire. Only a few themes for the movie are provided.  When Bailey, the guiding light behind the series, engaged Long to play piano for the show, "she gave me free rein ... I have complete liberty in what to use."
Bailey advised her that "it's fun when someone breaks into something unpredictable."
So Long's score promises to be full of melodies from opera, TV, movies, even Mozart. Pulling that together for the 85-minute movie is a challenge. "It's going to be a lot of fun," Long said.
The 1926 movie, an early example of Technicolor, has Fairbanks as the sole survivor of a pirate attack who infiltrates the villains' gang by posing as a master criminal. The plot gives him plenty of opportunities to show off his acrobatic skills, swinging from mast to mast, and engaging in sword fights.
When Long first screened the movie in early December she was surprised that "it's really quite graphic." So much so that she's not advising her youngest students to attend since they may be scared.
Long's studio currently has 30 students. She started playing piano whiles growing up in Fostoria, starting at age 7 and continuing with Marjorie Newhouse for 11 years until she went to Bowling Green State University. She graduated cum laude with a degree in piano performance.
Since then she has taught, performed solo and worked as a collaborative pianist locally and in Fayette where she and her family lived for many years.
She's also recorded two CDs of sacred music, "Blest be the Tie" and "The Advent of Peace." Another, "Too Wild for Worship," is in the works.
Long hopes the movie presentation draws some new faces to the Live in the House presentations. "We really hope to get this Live in the House as popular as it is in Pemberville."

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