Ladies' Night at Old Town Music Hall-Revisited!

By Bill Mitchell

On Sunday evening, August 28, 2005 the stage at the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo was graced by the presence of two outstanding lady pianists, Jeanne Ingram from Riverside and Shirley Case from Laguna Beach. They had prepared an elegant program that included a preponderance of ragtime, but was not limited to that genre.

Jeanne greeted the audience and introduced Shirley, who got the music underway at the Bosendorfer grand with her rendition of "Marigold," a melodic 1927 novelty by Billy Mayerl, an English piano prodigy. She continued with the charming "Heliotrope Bouquet," a Louis Chauvin/ Scott Joplin collaboration. An admirer of Trebor Tichenor, Shirley played two of his compositions, "Cape Rose Rag" and "Glen Arbor Rag."She then called Jeanne back on the second piano for a duet version of an intricate Joplin rag, "The Cascades."

It was Jeanne's turn to solo, and she led off with Muriel Pollock's "Rooster Rag," followed by a medley of two lovely standards: "Fascination," by F. D. Marchetti, and "Memories of You," by Eubie Blake. (Eubie had played his popular composition thirty years ago on this very piano!) By way of contrast, Jeanne played the 1914 jazz standard, "That's a-Plenty," by Lew Pollack. Then came a classic rag, "Kismet," a collaboration by Scott Hayden and Scott Joplin. Another change of pace was provided by a piano version of Jule Styne's "It's Magic," from the 1948 movie musical, "Romance on the High Seas." She concluded her solo segment with "Harmony Club Waltz," a pre-ragtime composition by Scott Joplin.

Jeanne and Shirley joined forces on a duet arrangement of "On a Paris Boulevard," a waltz by William Gillock.

At this point a surprise guest performer, Justin Myers, was introduced by Jeanne. Justin is a 17-year-old flutist, a highly talented music student who goes to Jeanne's church in Riverside. Accompanied by Jeanne on piano, he played "It's a Miracle." He then entertained with an original rag he titled "Ol' Fashuned Rag." He spelled it out for us, commenting humorously that he was not an English major. For his third number he played his arrangement of "Onward Christian Soldiers," a spirited version that verged on being jazzy.

To wind up the first half of the program, Bill Field cranked up the Mighty Wurlitzer and joined Shirley, Jeanne, and Justin on "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and "Five Foot Two."

After intermission Jeanne led off with Sigmund Romberg's "I'll Walk with God" and Lerner and Loewe's "Thank Heaven for Little Girls." She then took us back to 1901 for "Rag Picker's Rag," by Robert J. O'Brien. "He'd Have to Get Under, Get Out and Get Under," was next. Jeanne played it and then read the humorous lyrics to us. This was followed by Kathy Craig's "Romantic Rag," a prize winner in the 1976 Sedalia competition for new ragtime compositions. Jeanne then accompanied Shirley's vocal on a comical song, "The Lime Jello, Marshmallow, Cottage Cheese Surprise." The two then duetted on Joplin's "Pine Apple Rag," one of the composer's finest.

Shirley returned to the piano to perform solos on three "bird rags," all compositions of Joseph F. Lamb: "Ragtime Bobolink," "Bird Brain Rag," and "Ragtime Nightingale."

Shirley and Jeanne played a duet arrangement of "The Teddy Bears' Picnic," a 1907 march two-step by John W. Bratton. Shirley then led the audience in singing "Happy Birthday" to Jeanne.

Bill and Justin joined Shirley and Jeanne for the grand finale, which featured "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby," and "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag," two golden oldies.

This well-attended concert was outstanding. There were many unfamiliar faces in the audience, newcomers to the Old Town Music Hall. The musicianship was first-class, and there was a refreshing diversity in the material presented. The selections were well researched, providing the players with interesting commentary by way of introduction for most selections.

More Jeanne Ingram and Shirley Case at OTMH:

2006 Concert
2004 Concert

John T. Carney's Original Rags for Download

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