MSU Libraries hosts annual Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival, Gatsby Gala in March

Ragtime and Jazz Festival banner

Steve Cheseborough (Submitted photo)

Contact: Sasha Steinberg

STARKVILLE, Miss.—For the 12th consecutive year, the Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival is bringing the spirit and sounds of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to Mississippi State University’s Mitchell Memorial Library March 22-24.

The 2018 festival kicks off at 6 p.m. March 22 in the library’s main lobby with the 5th annual Gatsby Gala fashion show featuring 1920s apparel designed by MSU School of Human Sciences fashion design and merchandising students and modeled by MSU Fashion Board members. Internationally renowned pianist and fifth-year festival artistic director Jeff Barnhart of Mystic, Connecticut, will provide music for the Gala.

Eddie Erickson (Submitted photo)

Admission to the Gatsby Gala is free. General admission fees range from $50 each for all other festival events to $10 each for the evening concerts, with lesser fees for senior citizens and retired MSU faculty and staff members. MSU students with current identification cards may attend free.

Ivory&Gold, the musical duo of renowned soloist and band pianist Jeff Barnhart and wife, flutist Anne Barnhart. Jeff Barnhart also is serving his fifth year as the festival's artistic director. (Submitted photo)

Parking is available at the Old Main Academic Center parking garage on Barr Avenue. Patrons also can use MSU’s S.M.A.R.T. shuttle system for transportation to and from the festival.

Daytime museum tours, informative talks, “meet the artists” segments and educational seminars will take place March 23-24 in the fourth-floor Charles H. Templeton Sr. Music Museum at Mitchell Memorial Library, located at the southeast corner of the university’s historic Drill Field.

Evening concerts featuring world-renowned jazz and blues musicians will be held at 7:30 p.m. March 23 and 24 in the mainstage theater at McComas Hall. During the Friday evening program, MSU Libraries will present an MSU music student with the Keyone Docher Award, which pays tribute to the Weir native and former MSU junior music education/piano major who died in 2014 following a 13-year battle with cancer.

Tickets are available for advance purchase at Tickets also will be sold at the door.

Kris Tokarski (Submitted photo)

The 2018 festival performers include:

—Steve Cheseborough, a 1920s-30s blues aficionado whose chilling re-creations of Bo Carter, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson and other early blues masters turn any setting into a juke joint. He is author of the acclaimed guidebook “Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues” and a contributor to such publications as “Living Blues” and “Acoustic Guitar.” A Southern Studies master’s graduate of the University of Mississippi, he appeared in the documentary “Last of the Mississippi Jukes,” also featuring Morgan Freeman and Chris Thomas King.

—Eddie Erickson, a respected member of the jazz fraternity and one of the funniest performers on the scene. He began his banjo/guitar career in the San Jose, California, area in the mid-60s and has gone on to perform at Disneyworld, Disneyland and on Disney’s Empress Lilly Showboat. In addition to banjo shows, conventions and jazz concerts, he has been a featured performer at festivals, fairs and the Sancy Snow Jazz Festival in France.

—“Ivory&Gold,” the musical duo of renowned soloist and band pianist Jeff Barnhart and wife, flutist Anne Barnhart. With performances celebrating American jazz, blues, ragtime, Broadway and hits from the Great American Songbook, the Barnharts have become a mainstay at jazz and ragtime festivals throughout the U.S. and United Kingdom. During the festival, Ivory&Gold will be joined by special guest Eddie Erickson on guitar, banjo and vocals.

—Kris Tokarski, a Berkley College of Music graduate who was raised on classical music and Hungarian folk music. After moving to New Orleans to complete a master’s at the University of New Orleans, Tokarski embraced the city’s early piano traditions, as well as those of the Northeast where he grew up. Along with roots he developed while studying under bebop master Barry Harris, Tokarski’s keen interest in the music of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson and Teddy Wilson helped him foster an all-encompassing voice of his own. An in-demand jazz pianist, he has performed at notable festivals and venues including the Umbria Winter Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the French Quarter Fest.

In addition to MSU Libraries and the School of Human Sciences, this year’s sponsors include MaxxSouth Broadband, City of Starkville, Mississippi Arts Commission, Art Works and National Endowment for the Arts.

For more festival information, visit, call 662-325-6634 or email Follow MSU Libraries on Facebook @msulibrary, Twitter @msu_libraries and Instagram @msstatelibraries.

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