Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ragtime Jazz Slated for Goldenrod 4-Day Festival to Celebrate Summer's End

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ragtime Jazz Slated for Goldenrod 4-Day Festival to Celebrate Summer's End

Article excerpt

Many ragtime jazz fans and instrumentalists who play traditional jazz from the 1920s and '30s were born before World War II - but not all.

Fran Ellison, 39, plays banjo in Talk of the Town, an all-female trio consisting of Ellison, pianist Marsha Bilderback and vocalist Karen Spradlin, all of St. Louis. The group has been together for 10 years and rarely plays jazz composed after 1939.

Ellison says that having so many older ragtime fans and musicians is a plus in that they are walking encyclopedias of jazz information.

"The minus is that because few young people take an interest, we worry about the next 25 years of ragtime and traditional jazz," Ellison said. "That can be remedied with exposure. Once people hear the old ragtime - no matter what age they are - they usually enjoy it."

Traditional ragtime will get plenty of exposure on Labor Day weekend in St. Charles. Ellison and Talk of the Town will join headline performers such as the Salty Dogs, The St. Louis Ragtimers, Elite Syncopators, Tiger Rag and St. Louis Stompers and others at the 27th Annual Goldenrod Ragtime Festival Sept 1 to 4 at the Goldenrod Showboat, moored at the south end of Riverside Drive.

Musicians will play simultaneously in three areas of the boat: the theater, the upstairs captain's deck and the outside deck. Barbecue and a full bar will be available. Tickets are $16.50 to $19 for each six-hour session. One ticket is good for all three stages. A four-day pass for the entire festival is available for $59.95. Tickets may be obtained by calling the Goldenrod at 946-2020.

The Goldenrod Ragtime Festival started when the boat was docked near Laclede's Landing in St. Louis. The Jazz Festival drew audiences from around the world from 1965 to 1989, says the festival's associate producer, Michelle Panzer.

"There were five separate barges attached to the boat," Panzer said. "When the festivals were discontinued, people were so disappointed. One reason was that the boat contributed to the spirit of ragtime like no other venue."

The first ragtime festival at the Goldenrod Showboat in St. Charles took place two years ago. Last year's event was canceled because of the flood. …

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