LISA DENTON: Barry, I’m not sure I’d normally get overly excited about an organ concert, but the one coming up at 7 p.m. Thursday at Memorial Auditorium might be an exception.
Dr. Steven Ball from the University of Michigan will be playing for the Chattanooga Music Club’s fifth annual Patriotic Organ Concert. Yes, there’ll be an Independence Day salute to the armed forces, but the biggest portion of the show will be Ball playing the music for the silent film “The General.” For 75 minutes, he’ll be pulling out all the stops, so to speak.
BARRY COURTER: For free, folks can hear that beautiful organ and experience Buster Keaton’s classic film the way it was originally screened. This movie still shows up on most everyone’s Top Movies list for a reason. Plus, there are all kinds of local notes of interest attached to this. The movie is based on a real event that happened around here. In fact, I think a couple of the soldiers involved are buried at the National Cemetery.
LISA: Eight, actually (I looked it up).
BARRY: Of course you looked it up.
LISA: I’ll take that as a compliment.
Besides the gravestones for these first Medal of Honor winners, there’s a monument topped by a train replica just inside the entrance to the cemetery.
Andrews’ Raid was one of the most daring military maneuvers of the Civil War. Besides the Keaton movie, there’s a Disney film called “The Great Locomotive Chase” about it.
BARRY: I bet no one reading thought they’d get all this info. They come here to find out where to send the kiddies with a pocket full of movie money, and they get a history lesson to boot.
The event will be lots of fun with some extras like a musical version of “Whose Line Is It?” and a salute to war veterans. People sometimes forget the building is called the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium.
LISA: And that 1924 Austin organ is truly magnificent. You know, it took 21 years and $700,000 to restore it. The music club has held a patriotic concert every year since the project was completed.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...
Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.