Scott Joplin Birthday Celebration Scheduled for Saturday After Thanksgiving




Jazz Singer, Soprano Candace Taylor.

Courtesy Photo

The Regional Music Heritage Center & Scott Joplin Support Group are putting final touches on the second annual Scott Joplin Birthday Celebration. Joplin was born 1868 in the Linden/Texarkana area and died 1917 in New York City.

Joplin, known as the world's King of Ragtime Music Composers will be honored at Scott Joplin’s 151st Birthday Party in his hometown, Historic Downtown Texarkana at 6 p.m. Saturday, November 30, 2019 (the Saturday of Thanksgiving Weekend) at David Peavy's renovated 1894 Gallery and City Market at Front & Olive Streets.

The red carpet entrance and photographer, Stan Shavers, will lead to gala birthday cake and champagne toasts, heavy hors d'oeuvres, wines, beer, and refreshments.

Live jazz and ragtime music is scheduled with Three of a Kind, featuring the renowned Candace Taylor, jazz singers John Edwards and Carol Miles, as well as Allen Batts on keyboards, Jeff Madlock on bass and George Buckner on drums. 

The main theme this year is a salute to Joplin's profession as a piano music teacher, starting at Texarkana, Arkansas' early 1880’s Orr School, where he had been a student, through a few months before his death at Manhattan. Throughout his career, he juggled teaching with composing, performing on piano, cornet and singing with his brothers in their Texas Medley Quartette. The party highlights Texarkana's area music teachers who will play piano and ragtime music. Members of an event sponsor, Allegro Music Teachers Club, are featured with performers Vicki Carr, Shelly Brown, Larry Dymott, Amy Meadows, Natalio Castaneda, Cedric Crawford, and Nick Pappas. Daniel Bennett will tickle the ivories of the City Market's freshly tuned and decoratively painted upright piano. Also performing is pre-teen pianist Miriam Taylor Bougie, who will perform Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer.”

A silent auction runs throughout the evening and features a new painting by Texarkana native and nationally recognized artist, H.M. "Shango" Fort, Jr. of Belleview, Illinois. It depicts the young Scott Joplin at age 7 sitting at the square piano. Regardless of the highest/winning bid for the painting, lithograph prints will be made by the Texarkana Museums System and made available to the public.  Last year's painting of Scott Joplin by Mr. Fort was acquired by Marc-Andre Bougie and now adorns the wall of Texarkana College Music Hall, where he is associate music professor. There are other silent auction items including two Amtrak rountrip tickets from Texarkana through Austin to San Antonio. For more information on the silent auction, please contact carolcollinismiles@yahoo.com and Ina McDowell, director@mainstreettexarkana.org.

Tickets for the celebration are $15 online and $20 at the door with tables of 8 available at $100 ($12.50 per person), and students are $10. Reservations are recommended. For reservations and more information, call (903) 490 5471 or visit RMHCenter.org.

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