STARKVILLE, Miss.--Combining history, musical performance and even a little theater, pianists from Canada, California and points in between will be at Mississippi State March 28-30 to celebrate American ragtime and early jazz.
The university's second Charles H. Templeton Ragtime Music Festival will involve some of the world's most highly regarded musicians of the genre, as well as lectures by one of its eminent musicologists.
The MSU Libraries-sponsored event also will feature museum tours and historical overviews led by Dave Jasen, author of the definitive ragtime reference work.
As with the first weekend festival last year, the event is centered around resources of the library's Charles H. Templeton Music Museum.
"We see the collection as a 'living' way to introduce ragtime and the history behind the business of music," said Chip Templeton, whose father amassed the popular collection housed on the library's fourth floor.
Templeton, a festival co-chair, said the cast of prominent musicians will help bring the uniquely American music to life. "It's a highly syncopated, energetic musical form that really engages audiences," he added.
Because the Templeton Collection is recognized by the performers as a unique national resource, "the festival offers a rare opportunity to experience the artifacts from a definitive period of American history, as well as the music that period generated," said Frances Coleman, dean of MSU Libraries.
In addition to three major concerts in Lee Hall auditorium, highlights of the 2008 festival will include performances at local city and county schools, mini concerts in the library's John Grisham Room and public interviews with the special guests. (The full schedule is available at http://library.msstate.edu/ragtime/festival/.)
The 2008 performers include:
--Mimi Blais, known as the "Celine Dion of the keyboard." Classically trained at the Quebec Conservatory of Music, she has developed an international following for her proficiency in ragtime, folk, jazz, blues, and other modern music.
--Marty Eggers, jazz and ragtime pianist and bassist. A member of the Butch Thompson Trio, he regularly performed for the National Public Radio program "A Prairie Home Companion."
--Frederick Hodges, ragtime and jazz pianist. The classically trained California native has appeared on stage, as well as in television and movies.
--Brian Holland, classically trained pianist and winner of the World Old-Time Piano-Playing Championship.
--David Reffkin, director of the American Ragtime Ensemble and host of the San Francisco-based radio program, "The Ragtime Machine." A professional violinist, he helped create the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.
--Bob Seeley, known as America's greatest living boogie-woogie pianist. His repertoire spans the music of Kern, Gershwin and Debussy, as well as standards of ragtime, stride and blues.
--Virginia Tichenor, who will be making her second appearance at the festival. The daughter of ragtime scholar Trebor Tichenor and wife of Marty Eggers, she is past-president of the West Coast Ragtime Society and a member of the Tichenor Family Trio and California's Devil Mountain Jazz Band. Tichenor also is a solo pianist at festivals throughout the country.
For more information about the festival, telephone 662-325-2559.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see http://www.msstate.edu/.