The Vivo Chamber Players return for concert


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Vivo will accompany the silent film, “The Rink”, starring Charlie Chaplin, with a musical score by Dr. John Benoit, professor of music at Simpson College.

by Jordyn Wilson, Staff Reporter

Originally published in the Indianola Independent-Advocate where Jordyn Wilson is interning. 

Comprised of the Simpson instrumental music faculty and guest string players, Vivo will be presenting recitals on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in Lekberg Hall of the Amy Robertson Music Building. 

Vivo will be accompanying the silent film “The Rink”, starring Charlie Chaplin, with a musical score by Dr. John Benoit, Professor of Music at Simpson College.

For this recital, the ensemble consists of 16 members: seven string players and nine wind and percussionists. This includes two violins, two violas, two cellos, a bassist, saxophonist, trumpeter, a French horn player, an oboe, clarinet, bassoon and a pianist.

To cover all of the sound effects, one percussionist has to play 26 different instruments during the 25-minute-long movie.  

“He will be a show of his own,” says Linda Benoit, music teaching artist at Simpson College. “I’ve been telling people that you could just watch him run from one end of the percussion section to the other.”

The percussionist also has to line the sound effects up with the film, so he is not only reading his music, but also watching the film simultaneously. 

John Benoit uses common melodies and music from a photo playbook to create an original score for the film. 

“A photo playbook is the type of book that a pianist or an organist who used to play for silent movies would use,” Linda Benoit added. 

These playbooks consist of several different music categories. For example, one heading might say “chase music,” so if there is a chase scene in the movie, the organist or pianist can turn to that page and play that music. 

“He [John] was the one that decided which instruments played which parts and he had to connect the different tunes together. So that’s where his original composition comes in, but it’s all based on previously composed pieces,” Linda Benoit said. 

The Vivo Chamber hopes to draw a large crowd, encouraging families to bring their children. 

“We are encouraging people to bring kids, especially kids that are at that age where they’re thinking about which instrument they’d like [to] play,” said Linda Benoit. “Of course we’re all going to be overshadowed by the percussionist, but children will be able to see up close the different instrumentalists playing the instruments and get to hear the sounds they can make.”

The 7 p.m. show is now fully reserved, but there are still seats available for the 8:30 p.m. show. 

Tickets are free but need to be reserved prior to the performances, as the audience size is limited to 45% of full capacity.