TEXARKANA — Members of the Texarkana Regional Music Heritage Center decided to take last year's sesquicentennial celebration of Scott Joplin's birthday and go it one better Saturday evening.
Dozens of residents packed into the 1894 Gallery to joyously celebrate the King of Ragtime's 151st birthday.
The success of last year's 150th birthday celebration of Joplin prompted another go around this year.
Carol Miles, one of the center's board members, came dressed to sing in a black velvet, turn-of-the-century period piece, a Victorian style outfit
"Back at that time (late 19th century), when cities like Texarkana were still relatively new, there was a piano in every saloon in the downtown area," she said.
"As far as we can tell, Scott started composing music at least as far back as his early 20s."
Miles, who sang a song she composed in November of 1995, called "Texarkana Jazz Rag," also said that both her parents were music teachers, which prompted her to learn about Joplin as well as about his unique ability to add syncopation to the brisk beat of Ragtime piano music.
Vicki Carr, executive director of the of Texarkana's Regional Music Center, said she remembers back when she was in public school, when one of her teachers gave her book about Ragtime music and she learned how to love it.
"I loved the syncopation as well as the jazzed up sound of it and I've liked it ever since,"she said. "I also love adult pop piano playing, but I especially love choral anthems played on piano."
Throughout the Saturday evening, various Texarkana area music teachers performed piano versions of Joplin's works which was featured prominently in the 1973 film "The Sting." Some of those unforgettable Joplin compositions included "The Pineapple Rag" performed by Daniel Bennett, "The Maple Leaf Rag," performed by Natalio Castaneda, "The Entertainer,"performed first by Miriam Bougie and later by Beth Brine and "Solace"performed by Amy Meadows.
Miles said the center intends to make Joplin's birthday salute and annual event on the Saturday of each Thanksgiving weekend.