Home away from home
After dazzling audiences day and night, all the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival performers have to go somewhere to sleep.
Several go to Sedalia homes, where hospitable families have offered spare bedrooms to the performers.
Stacy Purvis, director of the Scott Joplin Foundation, said 10 to 15 of the roughly 60 performers stay with families. The foundation pays performers, but provides no transportation or housing, Purvis said.
The festival began Wednesday and continues through Sunday.
Performers Jeff and Anne Barnhart stay with Pat and Burt Ives to save money. The Iveses have hosted the Barnharts for four years, and performer Brian Holland for three years.
The first year the Barnharts stayed there, Pat Ives said Jeff came to her and asked if Holland could stay with her the next year.
“It was just like one of my kids saying, ‘Can Johnny come over and stay the night?’ ” Ives said.
Jeff Barnhart said he asked because Holland is a friend. The Iveses “were very good at just letting us decompress when we wanted to,” he said.
Anne Barnhart said, “Pat and Burt are amazing, and are among some of the most accommodating, generous and thoughtful hosts. ... It’s like coming home when we’re going to Pat and Burt’s.”
Jeff Barnhart said the couple has played at the Ives family’s church, Wesley United Methodist, to thank them for providing housing.
Hosting the performers is easy, Pat Ives said. She buys extra cereal and breakfast food, and makes an extra pot of coffee, but not large meals.
“Having guests and having company doesn’t upset me,” Pat Ives said.
Burt Ives said he enjoys the company, which he describes as fun. He regularly beats Holland at pool.
Holland said, “Hopefully I can give him a run for his money this year.”
“They’re so accommodating. ... I consider Pat and Burt to be friends,” he said. Holland normally stays in hotels at festivals; staying at a family’s home is one of the perks of playing here.
The performers come and go through the garage doors, which open with a code, said Pat Ives.
Anne Barnhart plays the flute, and “one glorious day,” Ives overheard her practicing, “and it was like a concert from heaven.”
Jo Ann Neher, the president of the Joplin Foundation board of directors, hosts Mimi Blais at her home.
Blais said she enjoys staying at a house. “Sometimes you need privacy and you need to be alone and you need to be quiet,” she said.
Neher said Blais has stayed with her for about 10 years.
“You have a piano, you can practice — it’s great,” Blais said. She is able to plug in her espresso machine and cook and “all the little details like that.” Another benefit of staying at a home is the washer and dryer.
She also stays in people’s houses when she plays for festivals in California.
“It’s like being at home,” Blais said.
“She’s coming, and I’m going,” Neher said. “It just doesn’t bother me in the least.”
Carol Barnes and her husband, Don Barnes, have hosted performers for several years.
“They’re all such nice, agreeable people,” said Don Barnes, vice president of the foundation board.
“We’ve always entertained family, and it’s not that much different than entertaining your family,” Carol Barnes said.
“And we have become attached to (the performers).” This year, the Barnes family is hosting performer Donald Ryan and Barb and Bob Campbell.
Barb Campbell painted the murals in the third-floor courtroom of the Pettis County Courthouse, and gives tours during the festival.
When John DeChiaro, a ragtime guitar player, stayed at the Barnes’ home, he played Ave Maria one night, and Carol, a singer, joined in. “It was good,” she said.
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