Talk to any upperclassman and they will tell you that one of the most important things to remember at Hopkins is to take the time to explore everything school has to offer. I know you’ve probably read a college brochure or two in your time bragging about the resources a school has—and maybe Hopkins was one of those. I’m here to confirm that there are in fact, more opportunities here than I could have imagined. I like to pride myself on the fact that I try to find time to explore things on or around campus, but the truth of the matter is, that in between studying and going to class, I’m guilty of clicking “Join” on every Facebook event and then not actually showing up. This past Sunday though, my friend Ellie forced me to leave my notorious live-vicariously-through-the-join button-life behind me.
Ellie is a projectionist for one of her film classes on campus called Sound on Film, which is cross-listed with the Peabody Institute and MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). On Sunday, she helped organize a screening of the Silent Comedy Films “Get out and Get Under” (1920) directed by Hal Roach and starring Harold Lloyd, and “The General” (1920) directed by and starring Buster Keaton. And not only were these silent films screened, but were accompanied by a live music score by pianist Jesse Beller! Before the screening started her professor, Thomas Dolby, gave a short talk on the history of cinema music during the Silent Film era, and provided interesting tidbits about the actors and directors of the movies themselves.
To be completely honest, I was worried about how much I would actually enjoy this event, but guys—this is going to make me sound a little uncultured—it was SO COOL. I might not have known or been able to fully appreciate the history of the films themselves, but to have a live artist improvising a score to accompany the movie was an incredible thing to experience. The best part, was hearing Mr. Beller, who will be turning 90 soon (!), talk about his own experiences, how he prepares for his performances, and how much fun he has playing. I’m so glad I decided to go; it was definitely an experience that I know I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It reminded me that here at Hopkins, we are surrounded by incredibly accomplished people, and we have the opportunity to experience and share their passions with them. So thank you to Ellie and to Hopkins for convincing me that next time, I’ll actually mean it when I click join.