Rose Leaf Ragtime Club December Meeting (12/30/2001)
We wrapped up another year of successful Rose Leaf Ragtime club meetings on Sunday, December 30th. As usual, it was an unqualified crowd-pleaser from start to finish. The meeting was held in fond remembrance of Mr. Bill Coffman, co-proprietor of the Old Town Music Hall in El Segundo, who passed away earlier in the month. As much as anybody in southern California, Bill was a vital force in the ragtime rebirth, his support and underwriting of it going back well over 20 years. Bill will be sadly missed.
Gary Rametta opened the meeting with Scott Joplin's sweet "Weeping Willow" rag, then moved to a contemporary (1969) ragtime composition by St. Louis' Trebor Tichenor, titled the "Show Me Rag, A Missouri Defiance."
Bill Coleman soloed next on "At a Georgia Camp Meeting" and Bowman's famous "12th Street Rag."
Following Mr. Coleman was another Bill, Mr. Bill Mitchell. Bill played some favorites that never wear out, including J. Bodewalt Lampe's "Glad Rag" and Joseph Lamb's "Ragtime Nightingale" and "Bohemia." By the end of "Bohemia," Bill had certainly gotten the room rocking and rolling.
Stan Long revisited the Joplin repertoire with two numbers, first "The Entertainer" then "Solace, A Mexican Serenade." He then delved into a little improvisation with his own version of "Look What They've Done to My Song."
Phil Cannon strapped on his guitar/banjo and performed some holiday selections. First was Arthur Fiedler's arrangement of Leroy Anderson's 1949 Christmas classic "Sleigh Ride." Next was a long and beautifully played medley of several themes from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite" ballet. Phil's technique, arrangements and imaginative expression were superb.
Ron Ross took up the ivories next, soloing on a recent composition called "Fun in the Sun." Next, he brought Phil back to duet with him on Ron's enjoyable "Digital Rag."
Ragtime Nancy Kleier gave us two holiday-oriented rags, first "Holly and Mistletoe" by Geraldine Dobbins (1909), then "Hot Scotch Rag" by H.A. Fischler (1911).
It was a pleasure to see and hear Tom Handforth, who came up to the keys and performed a staple of his repertoire, Sousa's "Stars and Stripes," one of the best marches ever written.
Fred Hoeptner followed, putting the wraps on the first half of the program with a splendidly played piece, David Guion's lovely "Texas Fox Trot."
After the break, Yuko Shimazaki was heard warming up at the Yamaha upright with Joplin's exquisite "Nonpareil." She then performed his habanera "Solace," interpreting it beautifully.
Les Soper came up to play two classics, first "Ragtime Betty" by James Scott, then "Cascades" by Joplin.
Eric Marchese made his first appearance at the club in quite some time. It was indeed nice to hear him solo on his own holiday rag "A New England Yuletide," which he conceived and wrote several years ago after trips back east to his family's home in Massachusetts. Next was his newest composition, a three-section pop rag called "Jumpin' Jupiter."
Gary and Bill Mitchell then duetted on Joplin's great "Pine Apple Rag," after which Bill stayed on to celebrate the upcoming New Year with "Scott Joplin's New (year) Rag."
Nancy Kleier returned with two more holiday-related solos, first Joseph Lamb's "Champagne Rag," then James Scott's "Peace and Plenty."
By request, Les strode back up to the Yamaha and gave us a terrific performance of Jack Rummel's modern-day ragtime classic, "Lone Jack to Knob Noster," a musical account of one of his trips by car from Colorado to the Scott Joplin ragtime festival in Sedalia, MO. "Lone Jack" is a rousing number, a great rag with a bluesy and sometimes boogie-woogie feel.
Ruby Fradkin took over the mike and commandeered a combo that included Phil on strings, James on percussion and Gwen Girvin on second piano. Ruby started things off with a couple holiday songs, "Frosty the Snowman" and "Silent Night," then rolled up her sleeves and dove into some hearty blues, with the W.C. Handy classic "St. Louis Blues." Ruby's improvisation and steady use of blues figures were exhilarating. She drew, and deserved, enthusiastic applause.
Alan Breiman and Ron Ross performed the final duets of the afternoon, first with "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" and "Hello My Ragtime Gal."
Gwen Girvin handed out lyrics and led us in a sing-along version of "Auld Lang Syne." With that, a 2001 that none of will soon forget came to a close for the Rose Leaf Ragtime Club. We hope you'll be with us to help make 2002 even brighter.
Back Issues of "Something Doing" Meeting Reports