Something Doing

Ragtime Happenings in the Southland



Rose Leaf Ragtime Club November Meeting (11/29/1998)

Reported by Gus Willmorth

P.J. Schmidt kicked off the November meeting at the IHOP Restaurant in Pasadena with a warm-up "Cascades" before calling on Nancy Kleier for some post-Thanksgiving memories. Nancy praised the holiday with "Turkey Trot-Rag" (Ribe Danmark, 1912) then did a 'thank goodness its over' with "Cheese and Crackers," relief from a steady diet of leftover turkey. She saluted our recent visitors from Switzerland by playing Martin Jager's "Baroque Rag."

Looking ahead, Susan Erb played "Jingle Bells Jubilee" followed by "Aeroplane" (which I didn't remember having heard before but Darrell says Robby Rhodes played it at one of the OTMH Ragtime Festivals a few years ago, so I must have!)

In a pleasant surprise, Robbie Tronca, escaping from the rain forests of Queeensland, Australia, on a short visit to the USA did fine "Swipsey Cakewalk" and "Elite Syncopations" interspersed with James P. Johnson's "Carolina Shout." Robbie says his visa is good for three months so maybe he will return again before he leaves, or even more often if he can get the visa extended. (Note: Queensland is clear across the continent from Perth so Robbie has never met John Gill although he knows of him.)

Sally Pelke came forward next to show us some of the artwork she has done for some Eric Marchese compositions. Sally played three contemporaries: "3 Sheets in the Ocean, One Foot in the Sunset and You" by Robin Frost, "Matilda's Waltz" by P.J. Schmidt and "Thursday Rag" by George McClellan.

George McClellan and Lee Roan did their two-piano bit with "China Town My Chinatown," "Baby Face" and "If You Knew Susie Like I Know Susie." P.J. Schmidt turned us back to classic ragtime with "Searchlight Rag" and "Gladiolus Rag," both from Joplin's middle period around 1909 while he was allegedly also working on "Treemonisha."

Nancy Kleier returned to the holiday food bit with "Some Pumpkins" (Fielding) and one for the survivors of the event, "King Chanticleer." P.J. finished off the first half with "Victory Rag." In the interval, Bill Mintz made a pitch for his recent piano roll sampler. It got generally good comments from reviewers and Bill is going ahead with a production run which should have copies for sale by next meeting.

After the break P.J. persuaded Robbie Tronka to stay long enough to play a two piano duet with him on "Maple Leaf Rag" (Robbie and his escort, Pam Elliott from Santa Barbara, were leaving for OTMH to catch Bob Milne. During the course of the evening several others followed along on the 40 miles of freeway to El Segundo.) Robbie stayed to solo on "Magnetic Rag" and Garner's "Misty."

Susan Erb encored with Charlie Johnson's "Crazy Bone Rag" and "Sugar Foot Stomp." George McClellan followed with "St Louis Blues," "Am I Blue" and "Old Rocking Chair."

Nancy Kleier took over the piano to offer a tribute to the West Coast Ragtime Festival'"Fresno Frolics" (Backus and Lieby, 1996), "Red Lion Rag" (Wyndham) and "Sweet Dreams, A Ragtime Waltz" (Wilkes, 1988). A dream...that's what Nancy felt she fell into when she encountered the sheet music rack in the Red Lion Hotel! She woke up with a bag full of goodies.

P.J. Schmidt closed the meeting with a swath of classics: "Cotton Bolls" (Hunter), "Suffragette" (Scott), "Patricia Rag" (Lamb), "Haytian Rag" (Dabney), "French Vanilla" (Schmidt) and "Rose Leaf Rag" (Joplin).

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