Nice every now and again to combine business and pleasure. This past weekend, November 19-21, I was at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, a thoroughly enjoyable three days. I hadn't been in the building ten minutes when my friend Darwyn approached me with a chocolate bar in hand. When an event starts out like that, you know it's gonna be good.
To dispose of the business first, the Ragtime Store sold a good number of signed copies of my three ragtime-based mysteries, some people buying all three of the trilogy. Nice.
As to the music - I can say with truth that I've never attended a festival with better ragtime, as rendered by pianists, orchestras and small groups, string virtuosos, rhythm accompanists, and singers. To list all the terrific performers would take a whole page, but just to mention a few: the Ivory and Gold trio (pianist Jeff Barnhart, flutist Anne Barnhart, and drummer Danny Coots) were back for the first time in ten years, and infused the entire festival with their superb musicianship and great good humor. And pianist Larisa Migachyov's performance of Joseph Lamb's "Bohemia" rag was breathtakingly beautiful.
The weather was wonderful, temperatures in the seventies and eighties, but of course there's always payback. I flew home in the midst of the big Seattle snowstorm; fortunately, son-in-law Peter Greyy, a Wisconsin native, was able to pick me up and get me home. Always better lucky than good.