Real Ragtime heads to Watts Hall

Feb 26, 2013
Sean Fleming

Thomaston — Sean Fleming and his Dam’Rag Scotta Orchestra will present an evening of classic ragtime music from the early 1900s Saturday, March 9, at 7 p.m. at Watts Hall, 174 Main St./Route 1. Dancers Carol Teel and Carol Cirigliano will demonstrate the popular ragtime dances of the time.

Rag music was originally dance rather than concert music as it is normally heard today. The orchestral arrangements are original and played from copies of the near mythical, so-called “Red Back Book” (its real title was “Standard High-Class Rags”). In 1915, publisher John Stark issued a limited number of these orchestrations of some of ragtime’s most influential compositions of the time.

Performed in the original styles and tempos rarely heard today, the concert will feature compositions by Europe & Dabney, Gershwin, Hayden, Joplin, Lamb, Morton, Scott and Shepherd. Upbeat favorites such as Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Easy Winners” will be mixed with slower pieces such as Lamb’s “Ragtime Nightingale” and Joplin’s “Solace.” The dancers will be featured in solo numbers, and the audience will have a chance to learn a ragtime dance, the “Castle Walk.” Piano solos “Jelly Roll Blues” and “Finger Buster,” early jazz pieces by Morton, will be highlighted.

The Dam’Rag Scotta Orchestra features the local talents of Fleming on piano and conducting; violinists Carol Preston and Carolyn MacDonald; Linda Brunner, flute and piccolo); Mitch Kihn on clarinet; Allen Millet on drums; and Chuck McGregor on bass.

Tickets are $12, free for those younger than 19, and may be purchased by calling 354-8908, and also at The Owl & Turtle, Camden; Reading Corner, Rockland; The Highlands Coffee Shop, Thomaston; and Maine Coast Book Shop and Café, Damariscotta. Refreshments will be available.

Getting tickets early is recommended, as this unusual concert is often sold out. Proceeds will benefit the Outreach Program of the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist which, this past year, awarded grants totaling $8,000 to local charities including Trekkers, New Hope for Women, Knox County Health Clinic, Headstart, the Humane Society of Knox County and programs aiding the area's homeless. It also donated more than $7,000 to support a school in Gros Morne, Haiti.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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