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Last updated: June 04. 2014 2:11PM - 423 Views
By Democrat Staff



Faith Bemiss | DemocratScott Joplin International Ragtime Festival entertainer Bill Edwards, of Virginia, begins the festival by playing for members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri at Heber Hunt Elementary on Wednesday.“How does ragtime make you feel? It makes you feel happy,” Edwards asked before playing the “Calico Rag” for the students, plus several other selections. Also playing for the children were Max Keenlyside, 22, a Canadian pianist, and Dalton Ridenhour, of New York.
Faith Bemiss | DemocratScott Joplin International Ragtime Festival entertainer Bill Edwards, of Virginia, begins the festival by playing for members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri at Heber Hunt Elementary on Wednesday.“How does ragtime make you feel? It makes you feel happy,” Edwards asked before playing the “Calico Rag” for the students, plus several other selections. Also playing for the children were Max Keenlyside, 22, a Canadian pianist, and Dalton Ridenhour, of New York.
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Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri Summer Program members spent Wednesday morning learning a little about Sedalia history, through a special presentation by several Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival performers.


More than 100 members listened as “Perfessor” Bill Edwards, Dalton Ridenhour, Max Keenlyside and Richard Egan played ragtime hits at the Club’s elementary site, Heber Hunt Elementary. Songs included ragtime favorites, from “The Entertainer,” which was written by Scott Joplin in Sedalia, to the “Black and White Rag.”


Skyline Site Manager Donal Buckner, who sits on the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival Board, said ragtime performers have been visiting the Club for the past few years.


“The kids really love seeing the performances,” he said. “In February (the Scott Joplin Foundation) always hosts an Artist in Residence, so a lot of the kids have seen ragtime performed before.”


Buckner noted Sedalia’s history in the ragtime movement — Scott Joplin wrote several of his most famous hits while living here — and said it was important to keep passing on that legacy to future Sedalia generations.


“Not only did ragtime start here, Sedalia and the Scott Joplin Festival are still very well known,” he said. “We have performers from all over the world play the festival every year because it’s still a ‘resume ticket.’ If you’re serious about playing ragtime, you have to play in Sedalia.”


Aside from giving the members an hour of fun entertainment, the ragtime performance dovetails with the Club’s fine arts programs. Each summer the Club hosts a music program dedicated to teaching members everything from Mozart to the Beatles.


“Mr. Austin is teaching the members about different musical styles, everything from classical to pop to jazz. Ragtime is a big part of that and this is a great way for us to let our members experience some great music being played by great performers.”


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