UNION — The Vose or Virtual Wednesday Series continues Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. with Isaac Cherry on percussion and Jerry Rabushka on piano, playing as “Cherry & Jerry.” The duo is also part of the larger Ragged Blade Band, known for its creative jazz performances. They have chosen African American composers for this live show over Zoom.

Cherry & Jerry focus mainly on music from 1900 to 1920 — ragtime, early blues and jazz, and popular songs. Based in St. Louis, Miss., Ragged Blade Band has toured music of the ragtime era throughout Missouri and regionally, appearing at baseball games, steampunk events, pubs and restaurants, special events and more. Along with more than 120 live performances, in 2021 their virtual performances reached around the world as part of New Zealand Music Month, as well as Black History Month in Australia and England, and Women’s History Month in the United Kingdom. They also presented music at the history museum in conjunction with the Missouri bicentennial. A typical live performance includes some well-known songs of the early 20th century, as well as breathing life back into some rarely played tunes.

Black composers were on the forefront of American popular music; ragtime itself was the combination of African syncopation over a European march beat and formed the basis for the development of blues and jazz. Growing up as the children of former slaves, many Black composers and musicians had to navigate – and even perpetuate – racism in popular entertainment as they grew their careers.

Cherry & Jerry looks at composers such as Shelton Brooks and Scott Joplin, and also some leaders in the field — W.C. Handy, “father of the blues,” and Ernest Hogan, “father of ragtime,” the first African American to both produce and star in a Broadway show. Additionally, the duo shares some lesser known composers who wrote great tunes. The hour-long program will feature ragtime, blues, jazz and Broadway tunes.

Closed captioning is available. Call 207-785-4733, email librarian@voselibrary.org, or stop by Vose Library, 392 Common Road, for the Zoom registration link.