Features and Reviews
Jeanne Ingram and Shirley Case at OTMH
By Bill Mitchell
The elegant stylings of Jeanne Ingram and Shirley Case were featured in a piano concert the evening of Sunday, August 27, 2006 at the Old Town Music Hall. As an added attraction, a few numbers showcased the talents of a young (18 years old) flutist, Justin Myers, now a music student at the University of California at Riverside.
The program opened with a two-piano duet version of "Easy Winners," taken at a gentle tempo and arranged with tasteful embellishments without losing sight of Joplin's original score.
Shirley Case then played a solo set, opening with Joseph Lamb's graceful "Cottontail Rag," published in 1964, four years after the composer's death. Next came a series of rags featuring household pets in their titles: "Black Cat Rag" (Frank Wooster and Ethyl B. Smith), "Glad Cat Rag" (Will Nash), "Puppy on the Piano" (Galen Wilkes), and "Kitten on the Keys" (Zez Confrey).
Jeanne Ingram opened her first solo set with three romantic favorites: "Memories" (Egbert Van Alstyne), "Deep in My Heart" (Sigmund Romberg), and "Deep Purple" (Peter DeRose). She interjected an early ragtime number at this point, "Rags to Burn" (Frank X. McFadden), published in 1899. As if to put out the burning rags, Shirley then played "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" (Burt Bacharach). Then, as if to replace the charred rags, she played "A Bag of Rags" (W. R. McKanlass).
Jeanne introduced flutist Justin Myers, whom she accompanied on "What a day That Will Be," a lovely number he plays in church. He followed this with the old hymn, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee," which began in a stately manner, and then switched gears into an exciting jazz version which brought down the house. Next up was something quite different, a German march translated as "The Jolly Coppersmith." Justin sang this one and played flute (not at the same time!).
To close the first half of the concert, Shirley, Jeanne and Justin invited sing-alongs on "Cuddle Up a Little Closer" and "For Me and My Gal," two old favorites.
Opening the second half were Jeanne and Shirley with a gracious "April in Paris," a Vernon Duke standard from 1932.
Jeanne's second solo set opened with Charles Hunter's "Tickled to Death." She then played some ballads, Including Gershwin's "Someone to Watch over Me," and Carmichael's "Stardust," complete with the lovely verse. Returning to ragtime, she played Joseph Lamb's lush masterpiece, "Top Liner Rag."
Justin was called back on stage and Jeanne accompanied him on Gene Raskin's "Those Were the Days, My Friend" and an oldie from the 1800s by James Butterfield, "When You and I Were Young, Maggie."
Shirley returned for a ragtime solo set, commencing with "Moonshine Rag," by Edward Hudson. This is said to commemorate the Moonshine Gardens in St. Louis. "Cabbage Leaf Rag," composed by Les Copeland was next. She continued with "Eubie's Classical Rag," a number Eubie Blake composed late in his career in the early 1970s. Shirley remarked that Eubie had played this piece in the Old Town Music Hall on the Bosendorfer grand over three decades earlier, and that it was a thrill to perform it on the same piano he had played then. Next she performed a rag by Galen Wilkes in honor of Eubie's 100th birthday; "Baltimore Rag." She wound up this set with Terry Waldo's musically humorous melody with the eyebrow-raising title of "Proctology."
The evening's entertainment concluded with a George M. Cohan medley of "Yanke Doodle Boy," "Over There," and "You're a grand Old Flag." Shirley, Jeanne, and Justin then played Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," with the audience singing alone. The audience demanded an encore, so they played another sing-along, "Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag."
This concert was well attended and outstanding musically. The participants were attractively attired , and the program had something for everyone.
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