Silent Movie with Music by Walt Strony


You are invited to spend the afternoon enjoying a silent film as if you were back in the roaring 20s. The renowned Walt Strony will play his original score for the 1928 film, Steamboat Bill, Jr., starring and produced by the famous, hilarious Buster Keaton live on Nov. 20 at 4pm at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.  In the silent era, a live score is what audiences experienced.  Nothing was pre-recorded or “canned.”  And it makes a big difference in the overall experience.  Walt Strony was mentored by some of the original silent film organists and today is engaged by many groups across the country that show authentic silent movies. 

Silent Movies With Walt Strony, which debuted in Grass Valley in 2016, has drawn audiences from all over and are especially loved locally. In Walt’s own words, “My original score is in the style of what would have been done originally. The idea is to create a (period) musical background that helps the actors emote from the screen, without the music attracting to itself.”

Steamboat Bill, Jr., finds Keaton as the underwhelming son of Captain William “Steamboat Bill” Campbell who owns a rundown steamboat with significant competition. Bill Jr. returns home after years away with his father’s expectation that he can help turn everything around. Of course Bill Jr. falls for the competition’s daughter, Kitty, played by Marion Byron – her first film. In usual Keaton comedic style, Bill Jr.’s efforts in running the ship provide for many laughs as well as some hair-raising action. Remember as you watch this great film that Keaton did his own stunts, one of which may be considered his greatest. Also keep in mind Keaton’s production of all scenes was with live-action filming – no CGI!

Walt Strony is an inductee into the American Theater Organ Society Hall of Fame and is the only living two-time winner of the ATOS Organist of the Year Award. Beginning his public career at 18, Strony has performed worldwide in venues ranging from early days in pizza parlors to famous international music halls. PLC and Nevada County are very lucky to have attracted him. Strony will be playing on Peace’s new organ, which he helped to design, purchase and install. And the sounds you hear will be of an authentic Mighty Wurlitzer, the actual instrument developed for playing these films!

There is no charge for the event; however, donations to the non-profit Arts@Peace fund will be welcomed. A wine and cheese reception in Peace’s beautiful Fellowship Center will follow the film showing. Doors will open at 3:30pm and masks are suggested. Arts@Peace offers high-quality, free cultural events to Western Nevada County. For more information visit or call (530) 273-9631.

Media Contact: Carrie McDowall, (916) 761-9202 or