2023 Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Ragtime & Jazz Festival

The MSU Libraries and the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Ragtime & Jazz Festival are pleased to announce the dates and the exciting line up of performers slated for the 2023 festival.  The Templeton Festival and the Gatsby Gala are scheduled for March 23 – 25, 2023 on the campus of Mississippi State University. 

Clarinetist Benny Goodman propelled American music into the Modern Age in the 1930’s when he and his big band became the symbol of SWING!  Equally swinging were his small groups, trio, quartet and sextet.  This year, the Charles H. Templeton, Sr. Ragtime & Jazz Festival is thrilled to present David Bennett, the world’s leading exponent of Goodman style clarinet celebrating Goodman’s music in a small group setting, ably abetted by festival director Jeff Barnhart on piano and the most versatile jazz drummer in the US, Hal Smith.

When Dave Bennett puts down his clarinet and sits at (or stands at…or stands ON) the piano, fireworks occur as he channels all the Boogie and Rockabilly piano players of the 1940’s-1960’s, including Jerry Lee Lewis!  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, educator, and pianist Taslimah Bey will share her deeply personal pianistic interpretation of the music of such masters as Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton. Her performances, while channeling these old masters, are iconoclastic and celebrate the American spirit of acknowledging the past while celebrating the future in a startlingly individualistic approach.

In the ultimate example of fusing original American music, stories, art and photography, pianist/artist/composer Scott Kirby weaves live piano music, his own artwork, archival photography, and stories in an  unforgettable presentation entitled “Main Street Souvenirs”. This unique program will present themes of small-town America through our history, our musical traditions, and our narratives, and also incorporates material from the local Starkville and MSU community, through video interviews, stories, and photos, as well as one of Kirby’s original watercolor paintings of the local area. Please join us for a unique cinematic, musical and very intimate journey into the “Heartland.”