Music at this annual festival sponsored by MSU (that’s Mississippi State University, not Michigan State University, my alma mater) resounded from the auditorium walls. Concert artists played compositions from Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin, as well as other composers, including some of the artists performing.
Musicians used piano, drums, clarinet, and even a twelve-inch piccolo trumpet to create melodious sounds during two March evening concerts. Performers came from California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Michigan, and Mississippi.
I was impressed by the drummer, Hal Smith, who’d practiced with some pianists, but sometimes cocked his ears to listen to a different pianist for a few minutes, then created his own routine to accompany the artist.
Dave Bennett, who’s been compared to Benny Goodman, played a staid accompaniment to pianists on the clarinet, although you could see his knee and shoulders moving in time with the music. But then, he took to the piano to play “A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On,” by Jerry Lee Lewis, and gyrated all around the piano bench.
Martin Spitznagel, tired of being asked to play Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer,” demonstrated how it could be played in waltz time and and other variations. After reading about these musicians in the program, I realized ragtime and jazz are still played all over the country.
Now, that I’m back in Texas, I am getting ready to launch my revised and expanded version of Pretend Princess, which will become the first book in my new series, The Cordillera Royals. The next book will be Royal Wedding Scoop, featuring reporter, Danielle Dawson, who enjoys her favorite treat, chocolate filled croissants, but finds it hard to believe a prince might choose her over all the beauties he has dated.