As part of the town of Rockport’s celebration of its 125th anniversary, Midcoast Maine is invited to travel back in time to enjoy music from 100 years ago — the kind of music that still gets people of all ages into a dancing mood today.

The Portland-based State Street Traditional Jazz Band will perform Saturday, July 23, at 7 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House, 6 Central St. The concert is sponsored by the nonprofit organization Legacy Rockport, working to enhance the town’s cultural, educational and recreational resources, as a benefit for Rockport Public Library.

Preserving and honoring a heritage is what drives the band, led and managed by John T. Page. A trumpet player since grade school days, Page encountered now-Midcoast meteorologist Ken McKinley at Maine Maritime Academy and that connection brings this very distinctive music to the Midcoast on July 23.

“I’ve always been a musician, but my career was in the maritime professions; I just retired last year,” he said a week before the concert, sharing a phone line with his wife, and the band’s webmaster and CD producer, Ann Page.

In the late 1960s, John made his first entry into the Port of New Orleans. He found his way to the French Quarter, heard the legendary original Preservation Hall Jazz Band … and found a lifelong passion.

“I was absolutely captivated by this music! In the late 1970s, I ended up in Portland and started thinking about playing it. This band began in 1989 to preserve and perform the old jazz from New Orleans,” he said.

“This music” is an authentic mix of up-tempo jazz, blues and old spirituals as performed in the Big Easy from the turn of the 20th century to the 1920s, after which jazz began to migrate to Chicago, St. Louis and New York and diversify into the multiple styles the genre boasts today.

“We play the original rhythms; it’s essentially a form of ragtime, transposed for brass and other instruments,” John said.

The full State Street Traditional Jazz Band features John on trumpet and vocals; Bill Rayne on trombone and vocals; Peter Dunphy on banjo, guitar and vocals; Barry Daniels on clarinet; Pat Whitaker on tuba; and Doug Protsik on piano.

Protsik, a familiar face on the Midcoast thanks to his silent movie accompaniments, directorship of the Maine Fiddle Camp in Monroe and performances with The Old Grey Goose, joined the band a couple of years ago and — as is the case during Union Founders Day — is taking the keyboard slot once filled by the late Danny Patt. The Pages attended a silent movie event in their hometown of Richmond and knew at once, “We’ve got to meet that fellow!”

“Danny was our original pianist, and we miss him dearly,” said John.

“[Doug] loves playing this kind of music,” said Ann.

In their experience, people of all ages love listening, and dancing, to the music the State Street Traditional Jazz Band promotes and performs. John said he spoke with a 70-something woman at a concert intermission who said she felt like getting up and dancing in the aisle. With his encouragement, she did just that during the second set.

“It appeals to all ages,” said Ann. “Both grandparents and 3-year-olds will be dancing.”

Little wonder, given the generation-spanning familiarity of such tunes as “Has Anybody Seen My Gal,” “Bill Bailey,” “The St. Louis Blues” and the band’s traditional concert-capper, “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Among the musicians whose work the band seeks to preserve are Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Buddy Bolden, the Humphry Brothers, James Edward "Sing" Miller, Narvin Kimball, Jim Robinson and Sweet Emma Barrett.

“Even young people find it an absolutely joyful music,” John said. “It touches the soul, even in 2016.”

Proving the point, this year marks the release of a new CD, which came out in January; and a live DVD, just out of the box in time for the Rockport Opera House concert. Recorded at the Portland House of Music, it captures a spirited Mardi Gras concert. Those who want to preview the band in action can check out a video on (linked below).

“We’ve played on ‘207’ three times in the past year,” John said.

And yet, outside of dedicated portions of various jazz festivals, the original New Orleans music as celebrated by the State Street Traditional Jazz Band is not that common, which makes the Midcoast concert a rare opportunity to enjoy it.

“I don’t know of any other band dedicated to this,” said Ann. “Not in Maine, anyway,” said John.

Tickets for the concert are $12, available at the Rockport Town Office, at Rockport Public Library and online at