By Terry Miller
On the last Sunday of every month, Ron Ross puts together a program of some of the most talented musicians anywhere to share their love of the Ragtime genre.
Ragtime, a uniquely American, syncopated musical phenomenon, has been a strong presence in musical composition, entertainment, and scholarship for over a century. It emerged in its published form during the mid-1890s and quickly spread across the continent via published compositions. By the early 1900s ragtime flooded the music publishing industry. The popularity and demand for ragtime also boosted sales of pianos and greatly swelled the ranks of the recording industry. Ragtime seemed to emanate primarily from the Southern and Midwestern states with the majority of activity occurring in Missouri — although the East and West coasts also had their share of composers and performers. Ragtime’s popularity promptly spread to Europe and there, as in America, soon became a fad. Ragtime is a genre of musical composition for the piano, generally in duple meter and containing a highly syncopated treble lead over a rhythmically steady bass. A ragtime composition is usually composed of three or four contrasting sections or strains, each one being 16 or 32 measures in length.
The Yamaha piano at Myrtle Tree is shared and the musicians vary in age from 18 to 80 and each has his own remarkable gift to share. The Ragtime club was a monthly fixture at Wang’s restaurant but since they recently closed, the group has relocated to the lovely Myrtle Tree Café. If Scott Joplin were alive today he’d be there too.
Myrtle Tree Café is located at 405 S. Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia. For more information call Ron Ross (818) 766-2384 or send e-mail to RAGTIMRON@GMAIL.COM. The Rose Leaf Ragtime Club is on the web at http://roseleafclub.com.