16th annual Charles Templeton Ragtime & Jazz Festival returns to MSU

Contact: Madison Welzbacher

Ragtime & Jazz Festival promotional poster

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State’s spring celebration for music lovers—the Charles H. Templeton Ragtime & Jazz Festival—is making its return to the university for a 16th year.

The festival is March 24-26 in the Charles Templeton Music Museum located on the fourth floor of MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library. Jazz music and its history are the focus of this year’s event, which is making an in-person comeback after previously being held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic.

As tradition, the festival begins with the annual Gatsby Gala in the lobby of Mitchell Memorial Library. The 6.p.m show will present a wide array of 1920s-inspired fashion created by MSU School of Human Sciences fashion design and merchandising students and modeled by MSU Fashion Board members. Admission is free, and era-appropriate outfits are encouraged.

Tours and seminars are offered during the day March 25-26. Among the talks will be “The Life and Music of Janice Cleary,” a seminar held on March 25 at 1:30 p.m. dedicated to celebrating the late Cleary, who donated one of the largest sheet music collections in the U.S. to the university shortly before her death in 2021. There will also be a presentation of her sheet music on March 26 at 11 a.m., showcasing rarities from her collection. 

Concerts will be held March 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the McComas Hall Theater, with performances from this year’s featured musicians:

—The Sweet & Hot Quartet, comprised of Jeff and Anne Barnhart, which has previously performed at the university as Ivory & Gold. This year, they are accompanied by multi-instrumentalist T.J. Müller and percussionist Josh Duffee, transforming their act as a duo into a quartet. The band performs a variety of different jazz and ragtime music, from slow ballads to fast-paced swing.

—Donald Ryan, a pianist originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. Since coming to the U.S., Ryan has been a recipient of the international Chopin Competition Madeyska Award, been featured as a decade-long annual performer at the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri and has graced venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Wayne Newton Theater in Las Vegas, as well as performed in several international countries. He has been critically praised as “a music kaleidoscope, sparkling at everything he plays.”

—Adam Swanson, a returning favorite of the festival and renowned pianist. He is currently the only four-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest, and he has held performances at the Cinecon Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the Kennedy Center, as well as in Hungary, Switzerland and Australia. This year, Swanson is performing a tribute to the late Cleary and her sheet music collection.

Registration for the event is available at festival.library.msstate.edu. Admission to all festival events is free for MSU students with valid student I.D. General admission tickets good for all festival events are available for $65 each. Patrons can purchase a “Friday Only Ticket” for $35, which is good for all Friday events including the evening concert. A “Saturday Only Ticket” option also is available for Saturday’s events and concert. Tickets just for the Friday and Saturday concerts can be purchased for $15 each. Discounted fees are available for senior citizens and retired MSU faculty and staff members. Tickets are available for advance purchase online and also will be sold at the door.

Parking is available at the Old Main Academic Center parking garage on Barr Avenue. Patrons also can use MSU’s S.M.A.R.T. shuttle system for transportation to and from the festival. For more information about parking, visit parkingservices.msstate.edu.

The festival is sponsored by MSU Libraries, the Division of Access, Diversity and Inclusion, Student Affairs and the Office of Public Affairs, as well as the City of Starkville, MaxxSouth Broadband, Mississippi Arts Commission, and National Endowment for the Arts.

For more festival information, visit festival.library.msstate.edu, call 662-325-6634 or email ragtimefestival@library.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 - 9:43 am