We've lost a lot of people who were passionate about ragtime music in the past two years. Following is a partial list of some who are no longer with us.
1/4/2020 Bryan Cather
Bryan was a well-known St. Louis ragtime enthusiast, promoter and historian of note. He was president of the Friends of the Scott Joplin House and editor of the group’s newsletter. He worked at the Joplin House and actively researched the ragtime heritage of Joplin and St. Louis Ragtime. Bryan was the 2021 recipient of the Scott Joplin Outstanding Achievement Award in 2021. He was 53.
1/8/2020 Buck Henry (Henry Zuckerman)
Buck Henry had many television and movie credits to his name as an actor, screenwriter and director but with all his many interests, he was an avid ragtime enthusiast often seen at the Joplin Festival in Sedalia where he would sometimes emcee concerts. He was 89.
3/17/2020 Nevin Almquist
Avid former president of the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival Foundation, Nevin was a volunteer extraordinaire and with his wife Jean, they were popular greeters at the Festival After Glow events. He was 78.
3/25/2020 Robert Frost
Robert Frost had always enjoyed ragtime and in the 1970s he began writing serious compositions that have become standards of the ragtime repertoire and he appeared at many festivals and programs throughout his long career. He was 89.
4/19/2020 Ian Whitcomb
One of the most popular of the contemporary ragtime novelty performers was a musician, historian and familiar radio personality for nearly 50 years. Born in England, Ian was an early rock star who traded his early rock and roll fame for a career in ragtime and tin pan alley music. He authored several books on those subjects and was a popular entertainer and lecturer at events in the U.S. and Europe performing with his wife Regina. The often wrote as F. Arthur Nouveaux and Miss Lillie Langtry. Ian was 78.
5/21/2020 Susanna Tichenor
Susanna and her husband Andy were part of the famous “Tichenor Family Five” and their acclaimed CD, Family Reunion. Susanne was a talented violinist. She was 52.
6/12/2020 Rudy Emilio Torrini
Rudy was a popular clarinetist with St. Louis jazz and ragtime groups. He was 31.
7/3/2020 Dr. Lucille Salerno
Lucille Salerno was the beloved producer of the Blind Boone Ragtime Festival in Columbia, Missouri for 20 years and was instrumental in getting the Boone Home restored. She received the Scott Joplin Outstanding Achievement Award in 2017. She was 89.
7/24/2020 Nora Hulse
Dr. Hulse was a popular ragtime performer and acclaimed historian of women’s ragtime heritage. Dr. Hulse frequently lectured on the contributions of women to ragtime music and she received the Scott Joplin Outstanding Achievement Award in 2004. Dr. Hulse was 88.
7/26/2020 William “Bill” Kenney III
Bill Kenney had a long and distinguished career as a musician, historian and author of jazz and ragtime history. His book The Music of James Scott is a tribute to his favorite ragtime composer. He was 80.
8/12/2020 Dr. Clive Baker
Dr. Baker was a historian of ragtime and jazz and a performer for 30 years. Dr. Baker was 85.
10/12/2020 Richard Kroeckel
Longtime ragtime pianist and mentor to generations of ragtime performers, Richard Kroeckle was especially well know in the Colorado area where he played for 23 years at the Diamond Belle Saloon in Durango. He was 75.
12/9/2020 “Professor” Don Burns
For five decades Don Burns performed as a ragtime pianist and popular humorist. He was well known in the Toronto and Buffalo areas. Don was 81.
1/5/2021 David “Red” Lehr
David was a popular St. Louis instrumentalist who began his career began as a banjo player with Don Scheer’s Banjo Band at the old St. Louis Gaslight Square. He played with Jean Kitrell’s Jazz Incredibles and her St. Louis Rivermen and led the latter group when Jean retired. David was 83.
2/8/2021 Janice Cleary
Janice Cleary was one of the country’s foremost turn of the century sheet music collectors especially known for her ragtime collection. She received the 2015 Joplin Festival Outstanding Achievement Award for her work in this field. She was 96.
Herbert Frei, aka Mr. Chocolate, was a special man to say the least. This man from Switzerland enjoyed our festival so much that he wanted us to get to know a young ragtime performer from France. Fans would never have gotten to know Sebastian Troendle and his family without Herbert’s repeated financial support.
The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation (SJIRF) presents its fourth internet-based concert (SSN4) to support artists with limited live music options due to Covid-19. We invite you to tune in Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:15 PM (eastern) time to view performances by Martin Spitznagel and Mimi Blais, along with SJIRF Artistic Director, Bryan Wright who serves as host.
While the SJIRF has provided each performer with a small stipend for their time and talent, any ‘tips’ you can offer will be greatly appreciated by the artists. Links to tip using a credit card on the internet are shown with the YouTube or Facebook posts...and our Donate page here on scottjoplin.org
Or, you can mail a donation to:
Syncopated Saturday Night
Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation
PO Box 1244
Sedalia, MO 65302
100% of donations will be evenly divided by the evening’s artists!
To view SSN4 on YouTube, copy or click this link:
or our YouTube home page link:
To view this on Facebook: watch it at
For more information on Martin Spitznagel:
For more information on Mimi Blais:
Mimi's Spotify Link
Mimi's YouTube channel
For more information about Bryan Wright:
2021 Festival Is Cancelled
February 10, 2021: News regarding the 2021 Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival
The 2021 Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival has been cancelled due to ongoing concerns regarding COVID and the safety of our performers, patrons, and volunteers.
To assist the SJRF Board in determining the best course of action regarding the 2021 Festival, a survey was distributed to several hundred performers, donors, sponsors, attendees, and volunteers soliciting opinions on various options including:
The Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation Board is now accepting nominations for its Outstanding Achievement Award in Ragtime. The award is presented to the person(s) or organization that has made exceptional contributions to performance, research, support, education or advancement of the ragtime genre.
Nominee submissions should include letters of recommend-ation, a list of accomplishments, and contact information for the nominee. We will also need the contact information for the person submitting the nomination.
Submissions should be sent to the Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation at P O Box 1244, Sedalia MO 65302 or via email to SJFSedalia@gmail.com . The deadline for submissions is March 31. The recipient of the award will be announced during a future Syncopated Saturday Night performance.
Past recipients can be found here.
The Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation (SJIRF) Board of Directors will determine the date of the next Festival by an announcement on or before February 15, 2021. The scheduled dates are June 2-5, 2021.
However, concerns about the infection rate of the Covid virus and availability of a vaccine may cause a cancellation or postponement. The Board must make a decision by March 1 in order to be reimbursed for any contracts, rentals or commitments it has made for the June dates.
The SJIRF will notify fans and interested parties by posting an update here as well as on our Facebook page. We appreciate your patience and encourage you to continue your diligence in guarding against the virus.
In support of artists challenged by COVID performance cancellations, the Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation (SJIRF) presents the Second Edition of Syncopated Saturday Night. Brian Holland & Danny Coots, the Taslimah Bey Trio, and host Bryan Wright welcome you to their homes for Ragtime and music genres influenced by Ragtime. The concert can be viewed either on our Facebook page or, in High Definition, on our YouTube page: Scott Joplin YouTube Home Page. The DIRECT link to the January 23 Concert Is: Here
While the SJIRF has provided each performer with a small stipend for their time and talent, you can provide additional 'tips' by donating NOW at our web site https://www.scottjoplin.org/donate.html. 100% of donations go to today's performers.
You can also mail a donation to the: Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation PO Box 1244 Sedalia, MO 65302
For more information on Holland & Coots:
For more information on Taslimah Bey:
For more information about Bryan Wright: