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MSU Libraries' Gatsby Gala, Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival enter second decade

March 3, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss.—For the 11th consecutive year, the Charles H. Templeton Ragtime and Jazz Festival is bringing the spirit of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to Mississippi State University's Mitchell Memorial Library March 30-April 1.

This year's activities begin on the 30th at 6 p.m. with the popular Gatsby Gala fashion show. Members of the MSU Fashion Board will model approximately 20-30 creations inspired by the 1920s. Patrons are encouraged to dress in 1920s attire for the event.

Charles Freeman, MSU assistant professor of fashion design and merchandising and university Fashion Board adviser, said the original garment designs are created by MSU students enrolled in freshman through senior-level design courses taught by Catherine Black, a visiting professor in fashion design and merchandising.

The School of Human Sciences also will sponsor a historic exhibit in the library's third-floor John Grisham Room featuring 1920s apparel and accessories.

Under the guidance of adviser Lynette McDougald, members of the university's Student Chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers will gain hands-on experience while decorating the library with floral designs popular in the 1920s. 

Jeff Barnhart of Mystic, Connecticut, returning festival solo artist and artistic director, will provide music for the Gala.

Daytime events, including interactive tours, informative talks, "meet the artist" segments and educational seminars, take place in the Templeton Music Museum of Mitchell Memorial Library, located at the southeast corner of the university's historic Drill Field.

As in years past, Barnhart will provide daytime silent film showings featuring live piano accompaniment. He will present an exclusive showing of "The Marriage Clause" that he assembled using clips housed at the Library of Congress.

According to Barnhart, prominent director and producer Lois Weber's 1926 extravaganza "The Marriage Clause" only exists in partial form. He will explain how he came to possess the film.

Additionally, patrons will have the opportunity to watch the final 25 minutes of Buster Keaton's 1925 classic "Seven Chances," which showcases an entirely different marriage clause with what Barnhart calls "hysterical results."

The festival's evening concerts will be held in the main theater at McComas Hall.

Admission to the Gatsby Gala is free. General admission fees range from $50 each for all other festival events to $10 each for the evening concerts, with lesser fees for senior citizens and retired MSU faculty and staff members. MSU students with current identification cards attend free.

An event schedule, registration and credit card ticket purchase information may be found online at Checks payable to MSU Libraries should be mailed to Templeton Festival, Mississippi State University Libraries, P.O. Box 5408, Mississippi State, MS 39762.

The 2017 festival performers include:

—Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Jass Band, the only band in existence devoted exclusively to the neglected era in musical history—roughly 1917 to 1923—when ragtime was transitioning into jazz. The band's repertoire consists of note-for-note re-creations of early jazz recordings made by pioneering bands. In addition to Levinson on reeds, the band includes Mike Davis, trumpet; Matt Musselman, trombone; Jeff Barnhart, piano; and Kevin Dorn, drums. For more, visit

—Brian Holland, an internationally renowned pianist, composer, recording artist and entertainer who has enjoyed a music career spanning more than 35 years. After spending his formative years playing in pizza parlors and clubs throughout Indiana, Holland's career flourished when he discovered the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest. In 1999, he won his third title and retired as "undefeated." In addition to playing with some of the hottest jazz bands in the U.S., Holland has performed his creative styles of jazz, ragtime, stride, boogie and blues around the world.

—Jeff Barnhart, an internationally renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, composer, educator and entertainer who began his professional career at age 14 in his home state of Connecticut. Along with international performances as a soloist and band pianist, Barnhart co-leads "Ivory&Gold" with his wife, flutist Anne Barnhart. With performances celebrating American jazz, blues, ragtime, Broadway and hits from the Great American Songbook, the musical duo has become a mainstay at jazz and ragtime festivals throughout the U.S. and United Kingdom. For more, visit or

MSU Libraries Associate Dean Stephen Cunetto said this year marks the 100th anniversary of African American composer and pianist Scott Joplin's death and also commemorates the first jazz recording.

In addition to MSU Libraries and the university's School of Human Sciences, this year's festival sponsors include MaxxSouth Broadband, Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Mississippi Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information, visit, telephone 662-325-6634 or email Follow the MSU Libraries on Facebook @msulibrary and Twitter @msu_libraries.   

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