If someone rings a doorbell in the movie and the music cue comes late, the moment falls flat.
Not only is Foppiano familiar with "Ben-Hur," he owns the film version and is bringing it with him.
"Ben-Hur, in my opinion, is the finest silent film ever made," he said of the original version that starred Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman. "It personifies everything they talk about in the golden age of film. It has a cast of thousands. It is an absolutely stunning film."
Foppiano also has performed music to silent dramas such as "Phantom of the Opera" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" along with Laurel and Hardy and Buster Keaton comedies.
As far as Foppiano is concerned, silent movies are the best.
"I'd rather see an old black-and-white film than anything coming out today," he said. "They have more integrity. The scenery is real. They build entire cities and towns; it's not computer-generated."
To prepare to play with a film, Foppiano said he prepares cue cards of music and watches the film carefully.
"You can't go into these cold," he said. "You have to capture the dramatic moments, the amorous, sad and action moments. There are certain sounds I go for. In 'The King of Kings' scene, when they show Mary's face, there's an ethereal, soft, angelic sound I go for."
The chariot race alone requires special stamina.
"It goes on and on," Foppiano said. "I remember the first time I saw it, thinking, 'Is he ever going to beat this guy?' "
"The energy is unreal. You're at the edge of your seat. To be honest with you, you sort of lose track of the organ. You are focused on the screen and thinking ahead."
For a film as epic as "Ben-Hur," Foppiano said he actually feels physically tired afterward.
"When I take my hands off the keys, they're almost numb for several minutes," he said.
This will be Foppiano's first visit to Forrest Burdette, and he said he's eager to see the church's pride and joy, a Harrah Symphonic Organ.
"This one is a monster and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.