The Midcoast has a chance to go back in time, for an evening anyway, Saturday, March 9, at Watts Hall, Main Street/Route 1. Sean Fleming and his Dam’Rag Scotta Orchestra will present music from 100 years ago; and Lincoln County dancers Carol Teel and Carol Cirigliano will demonstrate popular dances of the time, beginning 7 p.m.

Fleming, a graduate of Rockland District High School, is a familiar face on a number of music fronts. Longtime organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Newcastle, he also performs with or accompanies a number of regional choral groups; performs and teaches piano, organ, brass and reed instruments; and serves as musical director for theater productions. With that wide a range, it is no wonder he was the recipient, in 2009, of a St. Botolph Club Foundation grant award for achievements in music.

Fleming’s first instrument was clarinet. His ragtime connection, however, was formed on the piano keyboard.

“I taught myself to play piano, and the first piece was the ‘Maple Leaf Rag,’” he said a week before the concert.

Fleming’s grandfather, Arthur Grinnell, was a musician and gave the budding pianist a book of Scott Joplin rags.

“I learned from them,” Fleming said.

From those self-starter days, Fleming went on to study organ and piano with Michael Lindsey, Ray Cornils, John Doney and Gerald McGee. Lindsey of Rockland was instrumental in bringing the Community Concerts series to the city back in the 1980s.

“He was my first teacher. We used to do four-hand piano concerts around the area,” said Fleming.

While studying at the University of Southern Maine, Fleming met his future wife, choral director Linda Blanchard, and followed her to grad school in Michigan. The couple returned to the Midcoast a couple of years later and have proven to be a powerful musical team. Fleming is fluent in any number of musical genres, but ragtime has a continuing appeal.

“It’s such an important part of its time. The titles are really, really neat — they named them for flowers, horse races, people,” he said.

Professional dancers Vernon and Irene Castle were well-known in ragtime’s day — the late 1890s to the end of World War I — and that popularity is attested by “The Castle Walk.” Written in 1914 by James Reese Europe and Ford T. Dabney, it reflects the new century’s newer jazz tempos. Europe was a music director for the Castles, who are credited with reviving social dancing in the 1910s.

“‘The Castle Walk’ will be one for the audience to do,” said Fleming, adding that Teel has provided dance demos for one of the Rag’Scotta Orchestra’s biggest events thus far, held at Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theatre. Teel and Cirigliano also will demonstrate authentic dances affiliated with Joplin’s familiar “Maple Leaf” and “Entertainer” rags.

“The Sunflower Slow Rag” by Joplin and Scott Haydn proves that ragtime is not always fast-paced. Fleming will share comments about this and other pieces, including two crossover rags by Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, better known as an early jazz/blues composer and pianist.

One of the Morton rags, a dauntingly fast solo designed more for competition that contemplation, will put Fleming in the focus. But the Dam’Rag Scotta Orchestra is a true ensemble, featuring a number of players Fleming has worked alongside over the years: violinists Carol Preston and Carolyn MacDonald; Linda Brunner, flute and piccolo; Mitch Kihn on clarinet; Allen Millet on drums; and Chuck McGregor on bass. The group was formed in 2008 and does just a few gigs a year, given its niche status.

The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist’s Special Events Committee is bringing the Dam’Rag Scotta Orchestra to the Midcoast to benefit the church’s Outreach Program, which in the past year has awarded grants totaling $8,000 to local charities including Trekkers, New Hope for Women, Knox County Health Clinic, Headstart, the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County and programs aiding the homeless. It also donated more than $7,000 to support a school in Gros Morne, Haiti.

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.

The concert will be presented in two sets, with refreshments available during the intermission. The concert’s title is Real Ragtime and Fleming and his players promise authentic ragtime music played in the original styles and tempos. He said he hopes concertgoers will feel free to get up and dance.

“Real ragtime is dance music,” he said.

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