Atlanta Film Society To Play ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ With Live Accompaniment

Aeolian-Skinner, G. Donald Harrison pipe organ
All donations from this event will go toward restoring the Aeolian-Skinner, G. Donald Harrison pipe organ. CREDIT COURTESY OF DRUID HILLS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

The Atlanta Film Society has partnered with Druid Hills Presbyterian Church to show the original 1925 silent film “The Phantom of the Opera” with live accompaniment by organist Randy Elkins.

In 1984, Andrew Lloyd Webber created a score for the musical version, but the original film did not have a score written for it. In 1925, the silent film often had live accompaniment, but it was mostly improvised by the organist or ensemble at the showing. Elkins will underscore all the frightening parts and moods in the film.

“This will be my 16th time accompanying the movie, and this time I’m using a good amount of portions of classical organ music because it’s on this fine classical pipe organ that was built in 1940,” he said. “I’ve selected some organ music that will go with that, and I’m also using some music from the score of the opera that is being performed in the movie, which is ‘Faust’ by Goethe.

“I will also be improvising some of the really spooky, horror parts that you can get by using weird combinations of pipes on an organ.”

Elkins and Christopher Escobar, the executive director of the Atlanta Film Society, spoke to “City Lights” about the upcoming event.

It’s being held at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church, and it’s free and open to the public. All donations will go toward restoring the church’s Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ.

This story was originally published with audio on

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