Rose Leaf Ragtime Club June Meeting (6/25/2006)
The promise of a great show featuring special guest artist Nan Bostick surely had folks enthused in advance of our June meeting. The room was nearly filled well before 2:30 p.m. I counted 68 guests at show time, and more filtered in shortly following. Once the performances were underway, we had nearly 80 guests; the banquet room at the IHOP was literally filled to capacity.
Bill Mitchell got the ragtime rolling with Kerry Mills' 1897 "At a Georgia Camp Meeting," a turn-of-the-(20th)- century classic and a longtime favorite of Dixieland bands. Another Mills' rag was followed, "Kerry Mills' Ragtime Dance," from 1909 and which the Turk Murphy band brought back to life in the 1950s.
Doug Haise did his usual excellent work on two somewhat obscure pieces, first Sam Ewing's "Gee Whiz" from 1908, then Albert Gumble's "The Georgia Rag" from 1910, published by Jerome Remick and reprinted in Richard Zimmerman's "101 Rare Rags."
Shirley Case came fresh off the boat, literally, having just gotten home after a trip to Newfoundland. Her selections were "Too Much Raspberry," a Sidney Russell piece from 1916 published by Charles Daniels and, keeping with the fruit theme, "Wild Cherries," Ted Snyder's popular rag from 1908.
It was good to see Lee Roan and George McClellan back after a long hiatus. They played duo pianos on a hidden gem from the 1930s, "My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua Hawaii."
Next was 11-year-old David Zimmerman, a new Rose Leaf ragtime club recruit who we hope will make many more appearances. He showed his talents on a medley of Joplin's greatest hits, including "The Entertainer," "Maple Leaf Rag" and "Solace." To further astound the audience, he then played an excellent original syncopated piece called "Clydesdale Rag."
Nan Bostick, celebrating the release of her latest CD, started with her own "That Missing You Rag," a pensive, wistful composition that has a heartbreaking third section. Next, Nan brought up Bill Mitchell to duet with her on Joplin's "Original Rags." That was followed by another series of duets, these with Shirley case on accompanying piano, starting with "Eccentric Rag," by Louise Gustin (1908), "Hoosier Rag" by Julia Niebergall (1907), and "Chicken Chowder" by Irene Giblin (1905). These were enjoyable and expertly performed.
Nan continued with a solo on "Meadowlark Rag," a beautiful bird-call rag by Tom Pitts from 1916. She noted the connection she had with this rag, namely, that her uncle Charles Daniels had discovered Pitts at the Pan- Pacific Fair in San Francisco in 1915 and published the piece under the auspices of his Villa Moret publishing house. Nan continued with a medley of tunes from Daniels, including "You Tell Me Your Dream I'll Tell You Mine," "Nadja," "Moonlight" and "Sweet and Lovely." To close out her first set she chose contemporary composer Gil Lieby's "Sutter Creek Strut."
Gene Oster paid homage to both Nan and Charles Daniels by redoing "You Tell Me Your Dream, I'll Tell You Mine" in a charming, music-box style. He continued with another Daniels classic, "She's Funny That Way," played in an energetic stride style, and finished with Joseph Lamb's attractive "American Beauty Rag" from 1913.
That brought up 14-year-old Vincent Johnson. Vincent's been coming to club meetings and performing for nearly the past year and has been consistently improving in his technique and interpretations. He had a surprise this time, his own composition; a syncopated slow drag called "Me and Alice." A fine job indeed, and one we hope Vincent plays for us again.
During intermission, the piano artistry continued in high-class fashion, with Yuko Shimazaki playing beautifully on Frederick Chopin's posthumous "Nocturne in C# Minor," used in the movie "The Pianist." Bill Coleman rounded out the interlude with his medley of standards and popular tunes.
The second half of the show got underway with Les Soper playing three great rags, first "Dill Pickles" by Charles Johnson, then "Bohemia" from Joseph Lamb, and finally "Eugenia" by Scott Joplin. As usual, Les' playing was bouncy, expressive and well received.
Ron Ross played one of his original rags, "Cloudy," a syncopated waltz composed about two years ago, then "Patricia Rag," his favorite Joseph Lamb classic rag from 1916. "Cloudy" is always crowd pleasing, and Ron did a good job interpreting the Lamb rag.
Andrew Barrett displayed great chops on Les Copeland's "Invitation Rag" from 1911, and ragtime professor poseur Axel Christensen's "Pathetic Rag" from 1913.
Phil Cannon brought his guitar/banjo playing to bear on two of Ron Ross' compositions, "Sunday Serendipity" and "Digital Rag."
Nancy Kleier followed with a couple of theme-oriented pieces. First, for the June graduates, "Valedictory Rag," a 1996 piece by Orange County ragtimer Eric Marchese. Next was a Fourth of July-themed rag, "Fireworks Rag," a Tom Brier piece from 1988.
Stan Long played Gil Lieby's "Goldenrod Rag" which he recalled first hearing at a past Sutter Creek ragtime festival. He continued with his own "Haunting Accident" rag, to which he applied a new ending.
Frank Sano brought up Bill Mitchell, Phil and Andrew for a two piano/banjo/washboard version of "Cake Walkin' Babies from Home," followed by the ever-popular riverboat number, "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee."
George McClellan came back up for a solo piece, one of his lovely originals called "A Rag for Rosanante." Nan Bostick closed the show (with Nancy Kleier's timely help) on her own "Bean Whistle Rag" from 1974.
Our July meeting will take place on Sunday the 30th at 2:30 p.m. We hope you'll join us for some great music and camaraderie.
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