Music Program

Friday, December 14, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.

$12 general, $10 students/seniors, $8 members

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Wooden Cities Silent Christmas

Wooden Cities:

Brendan Fitzgerald - director, percussion and sound effects
Megan Kyle - english horn and oboe
Sheryl Hadeka - horn
Jared Tinkham - guitar
Nick Emmanuel - piano
Nola Ranallo - voice
Ethan Hayden - voice and trombone
Evan Courtin - violin
Katie Weissman - cello
Megan McDevitt - bass

Wooden Cities is at it again for a fourth time with its not-so-classic, silent Christmas film scoring extravaganza! Travel to the North Pole, meet the many forms of the big jolly guy, and see how Christmas Crackers are made. It's "The Mor-er Very-est Wooden Christmas Ever!"

The seven shorts, all filmed between 1901-1925, map the full range of the silent film era, and include works by acclaimed directors Edwin S. Porter and D.W. Griffith, as well as lesser known artists like Frank Kleinschmidt. The films themselves range from simple, non-narrative moving portraits to works with complex plots and elaborate imagery, and feature many of the most charming aspects of silent film: the transparent special effects, melodramatic gestural acting, comically inexplicable edits, and, underneath it all, a warm, nostalgic poignancy.

Wooden Cities will perform live music to accompany these films, providing soundtracks that by turns augment, mimic, comment on, or undercut the action onscreen. The scores—each written by past or current members of the ensemble—range from explicitly notated, leitmotif-dense compositions, to quasi-improvisatory free jazz outbursts. At times, the music directly mirrors the action on the screen, providing Carl Stalling-esque sonic narrations; other times, the music subversively undermines the film, revealing darker, more uncanny aspects only hinted at onscreen. In every case, the ensemble provides a dynamic energy, adding new dimensions and contemporary perspectives to these century-old films.


A Christmas Carol (1910) directed by J. Searle Dawley
A Winter Straw Ride (1906) directed by Wallace McCutcheon and Edwin S. Porter
Making Christmas Crackers (1910)
The Night Before Christmas (1905) directed by Edwin S. Porter
A Holiday Pageant at Home (1901)
Santa Claus (1925)
A Trap for Santa (1909) D.W. Griffith
and other holiday surprises!

About Wooden Cities:

Wooden Cities is both an ensemble and a collective of performers and composers seeking to help increase the performance and awareness of contemporary music in the Western New York area through unique, educational presentations. Formed in July 2011, the group served as a vehicle for director Brendan Fitzgerald to present John Zorn's game piece Cobra. Since that time, the group has grown to include nearly a dozen performers and is constantly seeking new works by new composers while continuing to present works by some of the essential, yet underrepresented composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The ensemble recently recorded their first album, which will be released in 2019. more at:

Hallwalls Music Program is made possible through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and a generous grant from the Cullen Foundation.