Testimonials

Recent Reviews/Testimonials

Listen to a recent interview with Andrew Greene on WAVR 102 about our show at the c. 1914 Sayre Theatre!
“"The premier American ragtime ensemble."” – The Washington Post
“"One of the best ragtime orchestras I think you'll hear."” – Rob Bamberger, Host, Hot Jazz Saturday Night (88.5 WAMU)
“"The classiest entertainment I've seen."” – Jim Cook Jr., Millville, NJ
“"The show was truly fantastic! Adored by young and old, and the perfect treat to re-open the Levoy Theatre. We are very proud of the entire event and thank you for playing such an integral part in its success!"” – Lauren Van Embden, Chairwoman, Levoy Theatre Preservation Society
“"What Mr. Greene and company prove above all else is that ragtime, like the classical music that preceded it, and the jazz age which would soon follow, is best heard live."” – The Diamondback, University of Maryland Newspaper
“"The Peacherine Ragtime [Society] Orchestra has issued a first-class CD, and a great future beckons for them."” – Jack Rummel, Rocky Mountain Ragtime Society
“"We need more people like Andrew [Greene] who have an appreciation for where we've been and where we're going."” – The Baltimore Sun
“"The Peacherine Orchestra preserves a unique cultural experience."” – The Severna Park Voice
“Andrew Greene's Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra was amazing. Although I'd never seen a movie accompanied by an 11-piece ensemble, I'm not sure why I would ever see another movie without the same treatment... the richness of sound from the orchestra was unbeatable. It was truly amazing and an experience I'll not soon forget.” – Culpeper Star Exponent
“"They are, quite simply, one of the finest ragtime orchestras in the world."” – Bryan Wright, Rivermont Records
“...Plenty of variety, played in a sparkling fashion which positively exudes good spirits...evocative of the sound that once would have been heard emanating from a park bandstand on a balmy summer’s afternoon.” – Barry McCanna, Sounds of Yesteryear

Read some recent articles about the orchestra!

 

Silent comedies with live music in Hackettstown

By Bill Nutt, The Daily Record, August 2017.

Cinephiles will tell you that silent movies were never “silent.”

Until the late 1920s, every theater screened films with live musical accompaniment, using instruments ranging from a piano to an organ to (in the case of larger venues) a small orchestra.

Andrew Greene wants to take audiences back to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

Greene is founder, director, and pianist for the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra (PRSO). The 12-member ensemble specializes in music from the ragtime era, from the late 1800s through the 1910s and 1920s.

Besides rags and early jazz tunes (such as the seminal “Tiger Rag,” recorded 100 years ago this year), the PRSO also plays scores while silent films are shown on a screen.

Such will be the case when PRSO performs tomorrow night at Centenary Stage Co. in Hackettstown as part of the Centenary Stage Summer Jamfest.

Greene will lead his group in live music for a trio of short comedies by three comic legends: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and the team of Laurel and Hardy.

The PRSO tries to match the onscreen antics with its own brand of musical wit, according to Greene. “I want people to feel the sheer joy in the music,” he said. “There’s an energy and a frivolity in the music.”

The screenings at Centenary Stage include “One A.M.” (1916), in which Chaplin’s Little Tramp character arrives home after a night of excessive drinking, and “Cops,” a 1922 Buster Keaton short that Greene called “a quintessential chase comedy.”

The third film is “Big Business,” a 1929 comedy in which Laurel and Hardy play a pair of Christmas tree salesmen – in southern California in July. “It goes about as well as you expect it to go,” said Greene with a laugh.

The scores for the films are built around period songs, dance numbers, music-hall tunes, and other pieces. Some are suggested in notes that were provided for theaters at the time, but most are chosen and arranged by Greene.

Greene said he wants to covey the same love of the music of that era as he has felt since he was 11 years old. He recalled how his piano teacher gave him a break from his studies by letting him learn Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag.”

Later, as a music major at the University of Maryland, Greene found other like-minded ragtime aficionados. He formed the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra (named after another Joplin composition) in 2010.

The line-up has undergone several changes. It now consists of Greene on piano, five string players, a flutist who doubles on piccolo, two cornet players (“not trumpets,” Greene emphasized), and a drummer who also provides sound effects.

The PRSO repertoire consists of the usual ragtime suspects, beginning with Joplin (who died 100 years ago), as well as Irving Berlin, John Phillip Sousa, and others.

“But there are thousands of composers who were writing in that era,” Greene said. He cited such writers as Nathanial Lewis, whose 1920 novelty piece “Oh Slip It Man” has been recorded by PRSO.

“We get these songs out of the woodwork,” Greene said. “We scrounge on eBay. We scour for old 78s and piano rolls.” The group has also received donations of scores and sheet music. “People want to see this music cared for,” he said.

Greene said that he and his musician make every effort to play arrangements that are as close to the originals as possible. “In some cases, we’re the first people to play these pieces in 100 years,” he said.

During the PRSO concerts, Greene will offer anecdotes about the works, the composers, and the era in general. “It’s always my main focus to create a sense of nostalgia for a day gone by,” he said.

Greene also hopes that audiences leave with an appreciation for the importance of the style. “If you trace it back, you wouldn’t have America music without ragtime.”

IF YOU WANT TO GO:

PEACHERINE RAGTIME SOCIETY ORCHESTRA

WHAT: The 12-piece ensemble plays rags and early jazz tunes from the late 1880s through the 1910s. The group will also play a live musical score while three silent comedies are shown on an overhead screen.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, August 5

WHERE: David and CarolLacklandCenter, CentenaryCollege,

715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown.

TICKETS: $27.50 in advance, $32.50 at door.

INFORMATION: 908-979-0900 or www.centenarystageco.org.


Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra delivers music to new generation

By Maureen Thomas, The Capital Gazette, July 2017.

Andrew Greene discovered ragtime music at age 11. The Broadneck resident had studied classical piano since age 4, and was a bit tired of Chopin.

As a treat, his teacher introduced him to Scott Joplin’s classic, “The Maple Leaf Rag.” His teacher at the time probably wouldn’t have predicted Greene would one day lead what the Washington Post hails as, “The premiere American Ragtime ensemble,” who perform nationally, “recreating the syncopated stylings from over 100 years ago.”

Perhaps most unusual is that Greene is 26, and all the members of the 12-piece touring ensemble – Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra – are under the age of 35.

After graduating from Broadneck High School in 2009, where he played in a Ragtime Group, Greene attended the University of Maryland, and formed the group as a freshman; many of the musicians are graduate students from the university. The orchestra features five string musicians, a flue/piccolo player, a clarinetist, two cornet players, a slide trombonist, a drummer, and Greene, who alternates playing piano and conducting.

Many might pin ragtime to the style Joplin popularized in the 1973 classic, The Sting, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman; but ragtime is music of the turn-of-the-century era, spanning from approximately 1897-1915. The category encompasses vaudeville music, burlesque, and operetta.

Greene said ragtime is the precursor of modern music, from modern jazz, to rock, and even rap. The orchestra held its first performance in 2010, at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, and now performs theater and dance music, and accompanies silent films using the original historic scores, such as at a recent performance for over 600 people at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, and a 2016 performance at Salisbury University where they accompanied a screening of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

They perform in Annapolis at least once a year, their five-piece, “palm court” version of the orchestra performed at “Dining Under the Stars” on July 19, and will do so again Aug. 16.

Home base for the orchestra is Greene’s home in Arnold. He houses a 10,000-piece collection of orchestrated ragtime, silent movie music, piano scores, antique records, and record machines, such as his authentic crank powered Victrola, which plays 78 rpm records.

It is one of the largest private collections of this material in the United States. And it grows constantly, as Greene adds to his findings, some purchased, and some, such as a cabinet filled with scores of music donated by the family of a music enthusiast who wanted the sheet music to fall into the right hands after his death. The orchestra uses the music for their performances.

In addition to his love of music, Greene, has always “liked history”; as indicated by the vintage railroad posters which, along with music prints, decorate the walls of his home. He attributes his love of trains to his grandfather, who introduced him to model trains.

Greene’s ‘day job’ is retail manager at Music and Arts in Severna Park, where he interacts daily with musicians and often runs into his former music teachers, many of whom come to Peacherine’s performances. The orchestra will be embarking on a national tour this summer, where they will perform in New Jersey, Texas, and Wisconsin.

For more information or to or donate old music, visit www.peacherineragtime.com. Greene and his orchestra will continue to perform ragtime classics, as well as pieces that have not been heard for decades, such as “Oh Slip It Man,” a rollicking piece that heavily features the slide trombone.

Their fan base has been increasing; the youth of the performers has brought in family, friends, and a generation of people appreciating music that has a timeless quality. For Greene, it is about, “Keeping history alive while enjoying it.”


Peacherine Orchestra Preserves A Unique Cultural Experience With “Spooky Silents”

Silent Movies, Live Music Will Enliven Maryland Hall on November 1
by Dylan Roche

Creepy crawlers, ghosts, black-and-white filmography and rarely heard Halloween-themed music circa 1920 will make irresistibly unusual (and delightfully eerie) entertainment on All Hallows Day when the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra presents “Spooky Silents: A Silent Film Halloween” at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

The one-night engagement on Saturday, November 1, will begin at 7:30pm in the main theater and will feature three classic shorts from the silent era – Buster Keaton’s “The Haunted House,” Harold Lloyd’s “Haunted Spooks” and Charlie Chaplin’s “One A.M.” – accompanied by live musical underscore from a 12-part orchestra under the leadership of Arnold’s own Andrew Greene.

“The performance will be a combined silent film event and concert experience,” explained Greene, who added that similar performances by the Peacherine Orchestra have been received enthusiastically by audiences. “It’s the sheer novelty of the entire event. Most audiences who come to see these shows have never seen a movie with live accompaniment. What I’ve found through our past performances is that audiences just love it.”

A 2009 graduate of Broadneck High School, Greene formed the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra at the University of Maryland in 2010. Since then, the group has garnered much renown playing ragtime, theater and dance music using Greene’s collection of more than 2,000 original orchestral arrangements from the era. The critically acclaimed group is quickly becoming one of the leading ragtime ensembles in the country, and it prides itself in authentic performance of silent film accompaniment.

When the team at Maryland Hall began to plan its fall season following a major summer renovation of the main theater, Peacherine was selected as the perfect show to highlight the new orchestra recession, improved seating and acoustics, according to Emily Garvin, Maryland Hall’s director of programs. “We are thrilled to provide exposure to such local treasure,” she explained. “We hope that this performance will draw Ragtime fans, film buffs and community members interested in the upgrades to the 1930s-era theater at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.”

The lineup of short films will also attract Halloween revelers, who will enjoy the campy fun of a comic horror story as performed by some of the silent era’s best. In “The Haunted House,” Buster Keaton plays a bank clerk who ends up in a seemingly haunted house that is actually a thieves’ hideout. This will be followed by “Haunted Spooks,” starring Harold Lloyd as a man whose bride has inherited a mansion that her uncle “haunts” with a variety of spectral tricks in the hopes that he can scare them off and claim the property. Finally, Charlie Chaplin will delight audiences in “One A.M.” as a drunken man who has a difficult time getting into his house when he arrives home late at night.

Tickets for “Spooky Silents: A Silent Film Halloween” are available now at $16 (Maryland Hall members) and $21 (nonmembers) for section A and $13 (members) and $18 (nonmembers) for section B. For more information or to reserve seats, visit www.marylandhall.org.

 


Historic Theater to present silent film event

Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra provides soundtrack to classic film screenings

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LUMBERTON — The Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater on Saturday will return to its roots with the showing of silent films in conjunction with live music.

The theater will be the venue for Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra’s presentation of “A Silent Film Halloween.” The event begins at 7 p.m.

The Carolina Civic Center, which first opened in 1928 as a silent film and vaudeville house, chose the orchestra because of that connection to the Lumberton theater’s past.

Richard Sceiford, director of the Carolina Civic Center Historic Theater, said that he saw an advertisement for the orchestra about a year ago.

“It just instantly hit me that this would be perfect for the theater,” Sceiford said. “I can’t think of anything more cool and unique for our region than seeing live music with a silent film in a 1928 theater.”

The orchestra will accompany a collection of classic silent films with Halloween themes. The orchestra will also perform many music-only interludes.

“With all of this combined, our theater is a unique visual experience,” Sceiford said. “This will be an alternative Halloween experience.”

The 12-piece orchestra will perform on the stage beneath the theater’s 25- by 13-foot screen to three silent films: “Buster Keaton in the Haunted House,” “Charlie Chaplin in the Adventurer” and “Harold Lloyd in Haunted Spooks.”

The orchestra uses the original scores and antique instruments to play theater, dance and concert selections.

“All of the music we will be playing is from the original music arrangement from the time period of the film,” said Andrew Greene, director of the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra.

Greene founded the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra in 2010 as a freshman at the University of Maryland, hoping to draw attention to what he says is neglected but historically-important ragtime music.

He has appeared as guest conductor for the South Dakota Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and appears at ragtime festivals and other events as a seminar leader and pianist.

“We will be recreating the experience in Robeson County of going to a theater and getting live entertainment,” Greene said. “My inspiration is just keeping ragtime alive.”

Along with the 12-piece orchestra, Greene will be bringing drummer John Patton, who will provide sound effects.

“This is going to be one heck of an event and people are not going to want to miss this,” Greene said.

According to the Peacherine’s website, the orchestra has been heard on radio programs such as “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,”WXGN Radio, and “Ragtime America.” The orchestra’s first CD, “That Teasin’ Rag: Vintage American Arrangements from the Ragtime Era,” was released on the Rivermont Label in 2011.

The Carolina Civic Center is located in downtown Lumberton at Fourth and Chestnut streets.

Tickets cost $20 a person or $15 a person with the purchase of 10 or more in advance. Tickets can be purchased in-person or by telephone with credit card or cash on Mondays through Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m. at the center’s administrative offices on the theater’s second floor, or by calling the center at 910-738-4339. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. Group and senior discount prices are available.

For information, call 910-738-4339 or email ccc@nc.rr.com.


 

Ragtime returns! ‘The General’ plays Millville’s Levoy for first time since 1927

Jim Cook Jr./South Jersey Times By Jim Cook Jr./South Jersey Times

on September 20, 2013 at 5:00 AM, updated September 20, 2013 at 5:04 AM
MILLVILLE — It’s a shame there’s no real TARDIS like in Doctor Who — or any time machine for that matter — because it would be cool to see what the Levoy Theatre was like 105 years ago when it first opened.

But maybe the experience isn’t so far away. When the theatre opened in 1908, small orchestras would play along to silent films — that’s how people watched what would become “movies,” a century ago.
To celebrate their one-year anniversary of being open after a 40-year absence, the Levoy Theatre is recreating that experience with the Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra next Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

Incidentally, this is the second time the orchestra has played the new Levoy Theatre — they played at the Levoy on Sept. 9, 2012 when the theater first opened its doors to the public after 40-years of darkness, and more than a decade of planning, development, fundraising, construction, a partial collapse, more construction, a some ornate finishing touches.

The Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra will accompany “The General,” a 1926 silent film starring Buster Keaton as a southern train engineer during the Civil War, whose girlfriend and locomotive get stolen by Union soldiers.

“The General” is No. 18 of 100 on the American Film Institute’s Greatest American Movies of All Time.

But this is certainly no debut for “The General” at the Levoy Theatre.
According to history, “The General” ran at the Levoy Theatre in 1927. So, the current theater directors reached out to the Peacherine’s conductor and director to celebrate the opening night anniversary with the ode to their past.

Under the direction of Andrew Greene, the orchestra tours the east coast performing ragtime-era music along to silent films — this was typical entertainment a century ago.
“The group consists of 12 people,” Greene said. “We’ve got five strings, two woodwinds, three brass, percussion, and a piano-conductor.

“That’s the American theatre orchestra set-up during the time the Levoy opened (in 1908).”
Greene, an intern for jazz research at the Smithsonian Institute and recent University of Maryland graduate, sought the original music used by ragtime orchestras in the 1920s that accompanied “The General.”

“The score we’re playing is based off the original by James C. Bradford,” Greene explained. “I took it and kept the parts that were good and fixed the parts that were not-so-good.”
Greene’s orchestra will also host a second act to the evening — a concert featuring popular ragtime piece, some of which were written by New Jersey composers.
He’ll mostly focus on two N.J.-native composers, Mel Kauffman, of Newark, and Arthur Pryor, of Asbury Park.
“We played some of (the New Jersey pieces) last year, and we’re doing more this year,” Green said. “It’s going to be a really fun show.”

Of his time in Millville last year, Greene raved about the Levoy Theatre.
“Last year was wonderful,” he said. “It was our favorite venue the group has played.”
With more than 600 seats, state-of-the-art lighting and sound, and an electronic levitating orchestra pit, the Levoy Theatre has hosted a variety of sold-out comedy acts, concerts, musicals, plays, fundraisers and private events in the past year of operation.

“We’re honored to be returning to Millville to celebrate the anniversary of the Levoy’s grand opening,” Greene said. “I think it’s fantastic.”

If you go
The General
ft. Peacherine Ragtime Orchestra
at the Levoy Theatre
When: Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013, at 5 p.m.
Where: Levoy Theatre, 123 N. High St., Millville, N.J. 08302.
Tickets: $23. Visitwww.levoy.net or call 856-327-6400.
Sample Audio Clips
Upcoming Events
October 26, 2017 – Belton, TX – 7:30 PM

Spooky Silents: A Silent Film Halloween at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s Performing Arts Center. FREE! For more information, visit: https://events.umhb.edu/group/fine_arts_experience.

October 28, 2017 – Eau Claire, WI – 7:30 PM

Spooky Silents: A Silent Film Halloween at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center/State Theater. For tickets & more information, visit: http://www.eauclairearts.com/ or call 715-832-ARTS (2787)

Peacherine Orchestra Store
That Teasin’ Rag CD

Vintage American Arrangements from the Ragtime Era (BSW-2215) PRSO’s first CD! Compilation of ragtime, theatre, and dance music. $20 USD

Step With Pep CD

The Ragtime and Dance Music of Mel B. Kaufman (BSW-2234). PRSO's second CD featuring music by the "King of the One Step." $20 USD.

Elite Syncopations CD

Favorites from the Ragtime Era (BSW-2242). PRSO's third CD featuring a variety of ragtime favorites, including The Entertainer, Alexander's Ragtime Band, and more! $20 USD.