By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – The Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival has always been a musical affair, but this year’s event will include film, too.
Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the second episode in a six-part documentary series about American music will be screened at the festival this weekend. The second episode of “Broadway: The American Musical,” which focuses on Tin Pan Alley, will be screened Friday.
“It’s about the early Broadway movement and how it became popular,” said Stephen Cunetto, a co-chair of the festival. “The performers are prepared to play a variety of selections of those early composers, musicians and Broadway shows that are touched on in the film.”
Ragtime and jazz musicians Sonny Leyland, Brian Holland, Frederick Hodges and Jeff Barnhart will return to the festival to perform and talk about their music. They’ll each have their own Talk at the Piano events, where they discuss their work, as well as evening concerts.
Frederick Hodges loves the silent film era and provides music for silent movies. He’ll showcase how he accompanies silent films at the festival.
“It’s something unique,” Cunetto said. “Many people don’t see or experience that every day.”
Each of the musicians performing at the Ragtime Jazz festival have their own unique style of playing. Leyland, for example, is a boogie woogie artist.
“There’s a variety of music. It’s not just ragtime. it’s about American popular music. They play anything from ragtime and jazz to the blues,” Cunetto said.
The Charles Templeton Music Museum will be open for tours during the festival, with formal tours scheduled for both Friday and Saturday mornings. David A. Jasen, an expert on ragtime and jazz, will speak about ragtime, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway music.
All of the musicians featured this year have performed at the festival in years past.
“They are fan favorites,” he said, “but it won’t be the same shows they saw last year. There’s always something unique. They always bring a new twist.”
– Listen and learn
What: Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival, featuring Jeff Barnhart, Brian Holland, Sonny Leyland and Frederick Hodges
When: Friday and Saturday
Where: Mississippi State University. Daily events are in the Charles H. Templeton Music Museum at the Mitchell Memorial Library, and nightly concerts are at McComas Hall.
Cost: $50/all events badge, $40/seniors all events badge, $30/Friday or Saturday badge, $24/seniors Friday or Saturday badge, $10/Friday or Saturday night concert, $8/seniors Friday or Saturday concert. Free/students.
Info and complete schedule: library.msstate.edu/ragtime/festival/index.html, (662) 325-6634