By GWEN SISSON
Children were sitting in the isles laughing hysterically at the Charlie Chaplin silent film, “The Cure,” with live piano accompaniment by the world renowned pianist Fredrick Hodges Saturday afternoon.
Adults were laughing too.
Hodges said silent film accompaniment was one of the ways ragtime music was used and heard in the first few decades of the 20th Century in America.
Festival organizers said the Silent Film Comedy Classics sessions have been quite popular for all ages, as a new addition to the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival, held this weekend at Mitchell Memorial Library on the Mississippi State University campus.
Stephen Cunetto, director of this year’s Festival, said the weekend has been going great. He said they have been pleased with attendance and with the comments that have been generated about the weekend events.
“People have said they love the talented people performing and have said just how much fun they are having,” Cunetto said.
At Friday night’s concert, featuring entertainers Jim Hession and Sue Keller, Cunetto said over 200 people were in attendance. And he said people from throughout the nation and a few visitors from Toronto, Canada, were in town this weekend for the fifth annual event.
Chip Templeton, son of Charles Templeton and one of the organizers for the Festival, said this year’s event has been “tremendous.”
His wife, Connie Templeton, agreed. She said the entire weekend has been wonderful, especially the talented entertainers.
“All of the pianists are wonderful,” Connie Templeton said. “They are all so different and so much fun. This is fun, happy music and I am just in awe of what the performers can do and what they can remember.”
Paul Krouse travelled from Jacksonville, Fla., to attend this year’s Festival. He and his wife, who has a degree in music, said they come every year, because the organization of this Festival is a little different than other Ragtime Festivals throughout the nation.
“We love hearing them talk and play,” Krouse said. “The intimacy of this Festival is nice. A lot of other festivals don’t allow that interaction between the performer and the audience.”
Smiley Wallace, one of the original organizers of the Kansas City Ragtime Revelry, said he loves the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival.
“I love your festival,” Wallace said. “It is very well done and the music display is beautiful. The city is wonderful and I hope to be back next year. This is a very, very good thing.”
The Fifth Annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival concluded Saturday with a concert by Fredrick Hodges and Brian Holland, followed by an “After-Hours Social” at Historic Hotel Chester in downtown Starkville.
For more information about the Charles Templeton Music Museum, stop by the fourth floor of Mitchell Memorial Library on the MSU campus or call 325-2559 for a tour.