One of the first things I noticed was the tremendous wealth of musical and theatrical talent on the Island. When Marlee, Evan, and I were putting together a 1920s cabaret for the PEI Symphony Orchestra fundraiser we had a wide array of performers and styles we could approach. We ended up with an eclectic programme of performers reflecting the diversity of entertainers here in PEI.
The evening began with Ben Aitken at the piano as folks gathered, ordered their Mary Pickfords (a very potent little 1920s cocktail), and perused the auction offerings. The Cabaret was compèred by Peter Bevan Baker, the leader of the Green Party in our Legislature. Later on in the evening he multi-tasked and played trumpet in The Little Big Band that provided dance music for the evening. But first our line up: Katie Kerr – a well-know musical comedy performer, Brendan Howard Roy – a young singer on his way up, Lewis and Peters – a comedy duo on stilts (yes I said stilts!), a talented trio of ladies from the Charlottetown Burlesque (yep we have a Burlesque troupe here on PEI), the Charlottetown Swing dancers, and the young man in the picture to the right – Max Keenlyside.
Max Keenlyside is a multi-talented performer: ragtime pianist and composer as well a piano restorer. In this clip he performs the original version of Scott Joplin‘s The Ragtime Dance on a 1927 Mathias Schulz piano which he has recently acquired. As a surprise during the stop-time section he switches between the Schulz and a 1850s Kirkman upright that he has restored.
Keenlyside also transcribes music – often from audio recordings, old piano rolls, or old manuscripts. The Silver Swan is the only Scott Joplin piece that was issued on a piano roll rather than in music notation. Max transcribed it from an original 1914 piano roll and also wrote an historical analysis of this late and until recently disputed Joplin piece. He plays it on a restored Woodward & Brown square grand piano built in 1851 – a good half century before Joplin composed the piece. The sheet music shown in the video is another of his projects: Engraving musical scores in the classic style of old publishing houses.
As I said we have a wealth of talent here on the Island.
On this day in 1971: Having weakened after making landfall in Nicaragua the previous day, Hurricane Irene regains enough strength to be renamed Hurricane Olivia, making it the first known hurricane to cross from the Atlantic Ocean into the Pacific.