Internationally known silent film organist at Coronado Sept. 20

From the Land of Lincoln Organ Society newsletter

Sept. 20 marks this new season’s first Land of Lincoln Organ Society (LOLTOS) social, the first of five now slated at the Coronado Theatre. As a special treat, Chicagoan Dennis Scott will accompany a silent film for us, title to be announced. As is our custom, at 9:30 a.m., we visit together in the historic lobby, which we enter at the doors under the marquee. Our entertainment begins in the auditorium at 10 a.m. Organists who accompany silent films are definitely in the minority, but this happens to be Mr. Scott’s forte, as you will see from his biography, below:

Dennis Scott is an internationally known silent film organist. He first began accompanying silent films in the 1970s, when he started playing theater pipe organs installed in pizza parlors in the Midwest and on the West Coast. He would accompany a couple of ‘two-reel’ comedies every evening. His style has been compared to that of his legendary mentor, the late John Muri, who recorded numerous silent film scores for Blackhawk Films. Suzanne Lloyd, granddaughter of the comic genius Harold Lloyd, dubbed Dennis the ‘Master of Magic Notes.’

Mr. Scott is house organist at Chicago’s historic Music Box Theatre, playing weekend intermissions, the annual Sing-Along Sound of Music, the annual Music Box Christmas Sing-Along, several themed film festivals, special events, and the award-winning Second Saturday Silent Cinema Series, which was named Best New Film Series of 2011 by Chicago magazine and Best Matinee Film Series of 2012 by the Chicago Reader.

Recently, Dennis recorded several theater organ scores for a historically large collection of Mack Sennett films. The DVD box set has just been released.

Dennis is the official organist for the International Buster Keaton Society and accompanies silent Keaton films every year for their convention, held in Muskegon, Michigan, where Buster spent much of his childhood. He played for two seasons of monthly silent film presentations at the Oriental Theatre in Milwaukee, and was a regular performer for the Sound of Silents Film Festival in Three Oaks, Michigan. In 2013, Dennis was the first organist to accompany a feature-length silent film for the prestigious Detroit Theatre Organ Society in its 50-plus-year history.

A co-founder and former president of the Silent Film Society of Chicago, Dennis was featured in the SFSC’s annual Silent Summer Film Festival from 2000 through 2010. He was a staff organist at the Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, Illinois, for nine years, where he became organist and music coordinator for Our Town Productions, an award-winning children’s theater company. He recorded a CD with Chicago’s very popular West End Jazz Band, recreating the brief era of the ‘marriage’ of the theater organ and the jazz bands of the 1920s and ’30s. For a number of years, he played the organ background for the annual live radio broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life at the Rialto Theatre in Joliet, Illinois.”

All LOLTOS socials are open to the public and admission is free.

Mark your calendars for four more socials still to come in the 2014-2015 season:

• Oct. 25, 9:30 a.m. — Glenn Tallar at the Coronado;

• Jan. 10, 2015, 9:30 a.m. — Don Young at the Coronado;

• Feb. 14, 2015, 9:30 a.m. — David Rhodes at the Coronado; and

• March 28, 2015, 9:30 a.m. — John Grune at the Coronado after a brief annual meeting.

For more about LOLTOS, contact Martha “Marty” Mangas at (815) 965-1252 or Rob Riley at (815) 543-1584 or

Posted Sept. 17, 2014

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