For 35 years, ragtime musicians from across the world have journeyed to Peoria, Ill., to battle for the title of World's Greatest Old-Time Piano Player. They come from all walks of life: a hearing-impaired administrative assistant from Champaign, Ill.; a Native American author, professor and self-taught pianist who can't read music; a 17-year-old phenom who dazzles his adult counterparts; the self-styled "Perfessor" of ragtime history; a machine operator who practices on old upright pianos in church basements; and a professional ragtime player whose primary performance venue is nursing homes. These players remind the world that ragtime, the first truly American popular music, shouldn't be forgotten. With co-directors Zimmer and Holle, and musical performances by subjects Faye Ballard, Ethan Uslan, and Four Arrows (a former St. Louisan).
Shown with Providers of Joy and Solace (Brock Mullins, U.S., 2012, 5 min.), which profiles the longtime bartenders at the Santa Anita racetrack and features a Scott Joplin soundtrack.
Webster University/Moore Auditorium (View)
470 East Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119