Revolutionary ragtime: Frederick Hodges pays tribute to the genius of Fred Astaire in Grass Valley
Special to Prospector
KNOW & GO
WHO: Master pianist Frederick Hodges
WHAT: “A Fred Astaire Ragtime Revue”
WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday — reception follows
WHERE: Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main St., Grass Valley (near downtown)
COST: Free (Donations welcome to benefit Peace’s Organ Fund)
A free piano concert will pay tribute to ragtime — the fun, infectious, yet sophisticated music that underscored the early career of the brilliant 20th-century dancer, Fred Astaire.
Works will include songs written for Astaire by friends and fledgling composers Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin.
Master pianist and international performer Frederick Hodges comes from San Francisco to perform “A Fred Astaire Ragtime Revue” at 4 p.m. Sunday at Peace Lutheran Church, 828 W. Main St., near downtown Grass Valley. A free reception will follow.
Hodges described his performance as “rediscovering what (the original composers) created and recreating it for others.”
During his performance, Hodges will share fascinating memorabilia from the ragtime period, including Astaire publicity posters, rare photographs and intricately illustrated sheet music covers from the pieces he performs.
The first part of the show will feature musical selections Astaire danced and sang to during his vaudeville years. For the second part, Hodges will perform music from the period.
Hodges is a sought-after performer with a broad repertoire of classical and early 20th-century music. But in his first-ever Grass Valley appearance, his focus will be ragtime — the revolutionary, syncopated sound that swept the world from the 1890s into the first decades of the 20th century.
Hodges has wowed audiences at the Sacramento Music Festival, the West Coast Ragtime Festival (also held in Sacramento) and the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Mo.
In addition, Hodges performs regularly at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival; the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont; the Hollywood Heritage Museum, the Cinecon Film Festival and the TCM Classic Film Festival, all in Hollywood; and at other music and silent film festivals around the country. Hodges also appears on stage, television, radio and film.
This event is free. Any donations will be gratefully accepted and will benefit the Peace Organ Fund. The church is raising $240,000 to replace the aging organ in its sanctuary and, eventually, install real pipes connected to the digital instrument.
The result will be a musical experience unlike anything in western Nevada County: Air passing through real pipes reverberates throughout the space and fills listeners in a way that purely electronic sound cannot.
More information about “A Fred Astaire Ragtime Revue,” Peace Lutheran Church and its Organ Fund — including a secure online donation portal — is at http://www.PeaceLutheranGV.org/donate.
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