Isaac Cherry, left, on percussion and Jerry Rabushka on piano are a duo from the Ragged Blade Band. Submitted photo

UNION — The duo Cherry & Jerry is scheduled to perform live music by African American composers at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16.

The concert is to be held via Zoom during the Vose Library’s Vose or Virtual Wednesday Series. Cherry & Jerry’s hour-long program will feature ragtime, blues, jazz and Broadway, according to a news release from the library.

Cherry & Jerry, featuring Isaac Cherry on percussion and Jerry Rabushka on piano, focus mainly on music from 1900 to 1920: ragtime, early blues and jazz, and popular songs.

Based in St. Louis, Mo., the duo is part of the larger Ragged Blade Band, and has toured music of the ragtime era throughout Missouri and regionally, appearing at baseball games, steampunk events, pubs and restaurants, and special events.

Along with more than 120 live performances, in 2021 their virtual performances reached around the world as part of New Zealand Music Month as well as Black History Month in Australia and England, and Women’s History Month in the UK. They also presented music at the History Museum in conjunction with the Missouri bicentennial. A typical live performance includes some well-known songs of the early 20th century as well breathing life back into some rarely played tunes.

Black composers were on the forefront of American popular music; ragtime itself was the combination of African syncopation over a European march beat and formed the basis for the development of blues and jazz. Growing up as the children of former slaves, many Black composers and musicians had to navigate — and even perpetuate — racism in popular entertainment as they grew their careers.

Ragged Blade Band looks at composers such as Shelton Brooks and Scott Joplin, and also some leaders in the field: W.C. Handy, “father of the blues,” and Ernest Hogan, “father of ragtime,” the first African American to both produce and star in a Broadway show.

Closed captioning will be available. To receive a Zoom registration link, call 207-785-4733, email [email protected] or stop by the library at 392 Common Road.

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