Something Doing

Ragtime Happenings in the Southland



Rose Leaf Ragtime Club September Meeting (9/26/1999)

Reported by Bill Mitchell

The monthly meeting of the Rose Leaf Club got underway at the new meeting time, 2:30 p.m., with Bill Mitchell acting as emcee for the afternoon. He invited Gary Rametta to open the program. Gary suggested "Maple Leaf Rag," and invited Bill to join him in a duet version, after which Gary soloed on three more Joplin numbers: "Scott Joplin's New Rag," "Original Rags," and "Sugar Cane."

Susan Erb played "San," a popular song from 1920, and "Persian Pearl," a real obscurity.

We honored the memory of P.J. Schmidt with a minute of silence, following which a tape of Jeff Stone's tribute to P.J. was played. (Jeff Stone's ragtime show is aired each Sunday evening on KSBR, 88.5 FM, from 8:00 to 10: p.m. Sunday evenings. We were pleased that Jeff and Karen Stone were able to come up from Mission Viejo to attend the September meeting.) Following the tribute, we heard P.J. play "Rose Leaf Rag," thanks to the fine cassette he made a few years ago. Bob Bramhall brought a white lei to drape over the piano in memory of P.J.

Continuing with the music, Ron Ross played "Ragtime Song," his most recent composition, composed in September and dedicated to P.J.

Eric Marchese played his own "Valedictory Rag," dedicating this performance to the memory of the three club members we recently lost: John Roache, Gus Willmorth, and P.J. Schmidt. In a lighter vein was "Kangaroo Hop" (1915), one of the "animal" dances popular with the fox-trotters of that era. Eric's concluding number was "A Certain Party." Published in 1910, it was the only rag by a certain Tom Kelley.

Nancy Kleier treated us to three numbers by contemporary composers, leading off with "Kreole," by David Thomas Roberts. Colorado's Jack Rummel was the composer of the next tune, "Lone Jack to Knob Noster." Nancy explained that this title is derived from two small towns between Kansas City and Sedalia, Missouri. Galen Wilkes wrote "The Last of the Ragtime Pioneers," ostensibly dedicated to Joseph F. Lamb.

Fred Hoeptner chose a couple of winners in Dabney's "Georgia Grind," and Scott's masterpiece, "Grace and Beauty."

And speaking of masterpieces, "Roberto Clemente," by David Thomas Roberts, was Ian Wallace's opener. He followed with a Tin-Pan-Alley novelty, "Hungarian Rag," one of those "ragging the classics" war-horses. Lamb's graceful "Patricia Rag" rounded out Ian's set.

Jim Lutz played "Swipesy Cakewalk," the Joplin-Marshall collaboration that is a perpetual delight.

"Ragtime Oriole," one of James Scott's best, was Bill Mitchell's opener, followed by "Apple Jack," by the prolific Charles L. Johnson, who wrote so much that he resorted to two or three pseudonyms. Concluding his set, Bill played a much later Johnson rag, "Snookums."

Gary Rametta joined Bill on a four-handed "Sunflower Slow Drag," and then soloed on Lamb's "Alaskan Rag."

Ron Ross encored with two more of his originals, "Small-Town Private Eye," and "Sweet Is the Sound."

Jim Lutz returned to play Marshall's "Lily Queen."

Nancy Kleier encored with "Cakewalk in the Sky," and was joined by Gary and Bill for the concluding number of the afternoon, "Something Doing." Six hands here really got something done!


Merriment and pleasure
In ragtime style
Sounds off the keyboard
Pianists moving, fingers flying
Giving the music with a beat
Syncopated right hand
Rhythmic accents hit
Strong and weak notes
Let the rag shine
Sounds and silence in time
Melody, harmony, meter,
Elements of music,
Apart of that music close to our hearts,
The music we love
The music that's fun
The music that moves out
The music known as ragtime.

--by Susan Erb

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