“Perfessor” Bill Edwards
Erika C. Miller
Front: Ragtime pianists Vincent Johnson, Doug Haise, Gary
Rametta, Ryan Wishner, Eric Marchese and Bill Mitchell. Back row
and seated in the RagFest Model T: Ragtime pianists Bob Pinsker,
Andrew Barrett, Eugene Shin and Will Bennett.
This year’s RagFest continued
the same format as RagFest 2012, with a full day of music at Steamers
Jazz Club & Café followed by a second full day at Muckenthaler
Cultural Center. Attendance on the second day was down compared
with our previous festival, but that didn’t detract from
the entertainment value of this wonderful weekend of ragtime.
Making their RagFest debuts were the
all-new act Tom Marion and His Ragtime String Trio; The California
Feetwarmers, playing and singing the pop music of the teens and
’20s; special guest vocalist Meredith Axelrod, who also
sat in with Tom Marion’s new group; and 16-year-old Ryan
Wishner, who played informally at RF12. The festival also informally
featured Will Bennett, a 21-year-old pianist from Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Gary Rametta and John Reed-Torres, two solo pianists who made
their first festival appearances at RagFest 2012, were also each
Returning from previous RagFests were
some of the most popular acts from past festivals, starting with
“Perfessor” Bill Edwards, a headliner from the 2007
and 2008 festivals. The Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra, and Brad
Kay and Those Syncopating Songbirds, were featured acts at the
Muckenthaler’s outdoor amphitheater, as were Janet Klein
& Her Parlor Boys, a favorite of longstanding at The Muck.
Andrew Barrett delivered much solo piano and accompanied Meredith
Axelrod at Steamers and vaudeville duo Evans & Rogers at Muckenthaler
Center. Solo pianists Bob Pinsker, Vincent Johnson, Eric Marchese
and Shirley Case, RagFest veterans all, were featured throughout
the weekend, as was vocalist and festival favorite Erika C. Miller,
and the duo of Bill Mitchell on piano and Jimmy Green on banjo.
Return to this page soon to see photos
from throughout the weekend. Also, a more detailed article on
the festival will appear here soon in the form of a review by
Fred Hoeptner, a ragtime performer as far back as the 1960s and
one of the most esteemed and accomplished composers of the ragtime