By Karl Richter
TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Jazz and cocktails will be in the spotlight for this year's annual celebration of ragtime composer Scott Joplin's birthday.
The event takes place Saturday at the recently opened 1923 Banana Club downtown, and admission donations will benefit a downtown decoration project dubbed "Music in the Air."
Scheduled musical performers include local jazz trio Three of a Kind, pianist and singer Haley Patillo, Deric Kennedy, and Carol Miles singing songs from her recent album "Givenchy and Me," including her original tune "Texarkana Cutie." Pianist Richard Ware, a former student of late Three of a Kind pianist Allen Batts, will also perform.
A cash bar will feature a new cocktail, the peacherine, named after one of Joplin's songs, and Verona restaurant will supply hors d'oeuvres and a signature wine named Texarkana Notes. Whoever attends in the best '20s speakeasy costume will win a door prize.
Attendees can participate in a silent auction for bottles of the wine, two round-trip Amtrak tickets to San Antonio and this year's Joplin birthday painting by Henry Fort, "Scott Joplin at Beasley Music Store -- Texarkana 1907."
Last year's Fort painting, "Scott Joplin at Orr School," was acquired by the Thomas and Leah Orr family and is on loan to the Museum of Regional History for their Scott Joplin exhibit. Fort's 2018 birthday painting, "Happy Birthday Scott Joplin," was acquired by the Marc-André and Candace Taylor Bougie family and hangs in the Texarkana College Music Hall. The 2019 painting, "Young Scott Joplin at the Piano," was acquired by David Peavy and now hangs in 1923 Banana Club.
"Music in the Air" is a planned "skyscape" of music-themed, lit sculptures that will adorn the tops of downtown buildings. The project is sponsored by the Scott Joplin Support Group and Main Street Texarkana.
Joplin, a Texarkana native, was born around Nov. 24, 1868, and died in 1917. Known as "The King of Ragtime," Joplin pioneered the musical form popular around the turn of the 20th century.
(Scott Joplin's Jazzy Birthday Cocktails begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the 1923 Banana Club, 223 Front St. in the basement of the 1894 Gallery and Market. Any donation at the door gets admission and one free drink ticket. Donations of $50 or more are tax deductible. For more information or to reserve a table, contact 903-490-5471 or [email protected])