By GWEN SISSON
While the name says Fifth Annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Music Festival, visitors may hear a variety of music from early America.
The Fifth Annual Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival begins today at Mitchell Memorial Library on the Mississippi State University campus. Evening concert events will take place at Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall at MSU.
Stephen Cunetto, director of the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Music Festival said that while the name implies that the festival is only about ragtime and jazz it truly is not.
“I think the name probably scares some people off,” Cunetto said. “We have a wonderful mix of performers who were all classically trained that specialize in many genres and they typically play a variety of music during the concerts. Last year, Frederick Hodges played an medley of songs from the musical Show Boat. It was simply fantastic and last 13 minutes.”
This year’s festival is an opportunity to showcase a the Charles Templeton Music Museum, housed in the Mitchell Memorial Library, home of more than 20,000 pieces of sheet music, 200 musical instruments and extensive memorabilia from the 1880s – 1930s. All document the distinctly American approach to the “business of music.”
Chip Templeton, one of the organizers for this year’s festival and son of Charles Templeton, Sr., whom the festival is named, said this festival is extremely unique.
“It is unique in the fact there is not another place in the world as far as we know that offers three collections in one: sheet music, recordings and hand’s on instruments/players,” Templeton said. “Bringing world class ragtime and jazz performers, with a blend of history together over the two days will be fun and educational. The fan support locally and from around many parts of America over the past years has created a loyal following to this unique place. For that, we are very grateful.”
Lyle Tate, another organizer for this year’s Festival said in years past, Mississippi music fans attend the festival, as well as Festival attendees from California, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Arizona, and other states.
“We will be bringing out some new pieces of the Sheet Music Collection, and they will be on display throughout the Library,” Tate said. “Having Dave Jasen on hand to lead the tours and share his incomparable insights on the music, culture, and styles of the Ragtime era is really an unmatched facet of the Templeton Festival.”
Jasen is a collector of books, recordings, piano rolls, periodicals, catalogs and sheet music that cover the gamut of American popular music.
Tate said as an advisor to the Charles Templeton Ragtime Jazz Festival since its inception, Jasen brings an extraordinary knowledge of ragtime and history, enriching the festival experience and providing a dimension rarely seen elsewhere.
Jansen’s first tour will begin at 9 a.m. today, and organizers said it is a treat not to be missed.
Tickets are available for daily events, evening concerts and for the entire festival by visiting http://library.msstate.edu/ragtime/festival/tkts/index.html  or by contacting Festival Planning Committee member Lyle Tate at email@example.com  or 325-2559.
For more information, visit the festival’s website at http://library.msstate.edu/ragtime/festival .