Bobby Norfolk entertains patrons at Kirkwood Public Library with lively Ragtime performance

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By Lynn Bosso, Assistant Director Programs & Youth Services at Kirkwood Public Library

On a chilly January afternoon, more than 170 patrons of Kirkwood Public Library enjoyed Emmy Award-winning storyteller Bobby Norfolk’s performance of Scott Joplin, the Ragtime King. Through stories and music, Norfolk chronicled the life of composer and musician, Scott Joplin from his humble beginnings in Texarkana, Texas through his adult life in the early twentieth century.

Norfolk explained that performers of the day brought their own musical accompanist who was always nicknamed “The Professor.” Norfolk’s own “Professor Pete” on the piano added a musical dimension to the afternoon delighting the audience with live music from famous Joplin compositions such as The Entertainer, The Maple Leaf Rag, The Crush Collision, The Easy Winners, and The Cascades. Children from the crowd joined Norfolk on stage as he taught dance steps associated with Joplin’s piece, The Swipsey Cakewalk, very popular around the time of the 1904 World’s Fair.

Kirkwood Public Library, located in Kirkwood, Missouri, serves a community of 27,000. The library is currently occupying temporary quarters while their historic building constructed in the early 1940’s is undergoing extensive renovation. Thanks to great community partners such as the City of Kirkwood Parks and Recreation who provided the space for Bobby Norfolk’s performance, the library has been able to continue to offer programs to the community while occupying a smaller temporary location.

For questions or to learn more about this program, contact Lynn Bosso.