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Around Broadneck: Arnold resident gets a kick out of ragtime music

The two Greene brothers of Arnold are like yin and yang. Their parents, Brent and Debbie Greene, can easily tell them apart.

Adam Greene, 19, a 2013 Broadneck High School graduate, is a business major at the University of Maryland, College Park. Wearing jersey No. 3 as a preferred walk on, he is a placekicker for the Terps football team.

His brother, Andrew Greene, 23, gets his kicks from music - specifically ragtime music. The 2009 Broadneck High graduate is more likely to tell you how composer Eubie Blake scored a song than who scored the winning touchdown at the last Terps home game.

Although his major, earned in 2013 at the University of Maryland, College Park, was economics, Andrew's main focus is music.

I first encountered Andrew while he was an eighth-grader at Magothy River Middle School. He was performing a ragtime tune on the piano before an enthralled, packed audience of middle school students and parents.

A year or two earlier, his piano instructor, Getha Klejnot, gave him the sheet music for Scott Joplin's classic ragtime piece, ''Maple Leaf Rag.'' He was instantly smitten with the sound of ragtime music.

"Ragime has a pep and enthusiasm no other music can capture," Andrew said. "Any popular music you know can trace itself back to ragtime. Without it, there would be no hip hop, no Pop, no rock 'n' roll, no rhythm and blues, no country, no blues."

Most people, he said, are familiar with Irving Berlin's first hit, ''Alexander's Ragtime Band,'' or have heard ragtime music on the soundtracks of the 1974 Paul Newman and Robert Redford flick, ''The Sting,'' or the 1960 Laurence Olivier film ''The Entertainer.'' The sound is heard, too, in the more recent film, Jim Carrey's 2008 ''Yes Man.''

Andrew had collected over 7,000 pieces of published ragtime music compositions, including a cache of 3,000 pieces a Texas resident shipped to him on a pallet. The Texan had planned to throw the old music away until he learned of Andrew's passion.

For the past several years, Andrew has been the director and conductor of the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra, which he founded. PRSO is composed of professional musicians in their 20s and early 30s from the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore-Annapolis area. The orchestra performs ragtime concerts throughout the region and, since 2010, provides the music for silent movie classics. It is one of America's few professional groups dedicated to the preservation and performance of ragtime.

Most of the musicians perform using vintage, period instruments, such as violins and cellos.

Andrew owns two coronets, similar to a trumpet, made of brass and copper. The old horns feature a "quick change" system that automatically changes the horn's tuning, a feature manufacturers discontinued in the mid-1920s. Andrew carries one coronet in its original container, a battered wooden case covered with shreds of antique leather.

In this area, Peacherine is presenting its annual Halloween show at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Accompanied by the orchestra, three classic creepy silent films will be featured - Buster Keaton's ''The Haunted House'' (1921), Harold Lloyd's ''Haunted Spooks'' (1920), and Charlie Chaplin's ''One A.M.'' (1916). Admission is $25.

Andrew also will appear as a piano soloist at 2 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Smithsonian Institution's American Art Museum's McEvoy Auditorium in Washington, D.C. He will be playing the original compiled score during the screening of the Keaton silent comedy, ''College.'' Free tickets will be available at 1:30 p.m. in the museum's G Street Lobby.

Andrew is busting a few buttons. PRSO has been hired to play at a very special venue - the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. PRSO will be performing at 6 p.m. Aug. 24 as part of the center's Millennium Stage programming series. ''One A.M.'' will be screened during the show. Admission is free.

In the works, once PRSO raises $4,000, is a PRSO recording of composer Mel B. Kaufman's works. Kaufman's ragtime tunes were ubiquitous: they were featured in early talkies, Looney Tunes cartoons, Disney's early Mickey Mouse cartoons and Laurel & Hardy movies.

Andrew just completed a nine-month, unpaid internship as a jazz music researcher at the Smithsonian.

"It was a wonderful experience," he said. "The original Muppets were around the corner from my desk. They were being preserved for display."

He was kept busy doing ragtime research for Dr. John Hasse, curator of American Music at the National Museum of American History. Andrew burrowed deep into the archived collections of the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress.

"I got a greater appreciation for American music, and learned what a museum curator does and what a researcher does," Andrew said. He's currently looking for a full-time job, hopefully, as an American music researcher.

For information about PRSO, its upcoming shows or openings for musicians, visit it at http://www.peacherineragtime.com, or on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Kudos

Windsor Farm Elementary School has won its second award of the year from Baltimore Gas & Electric. Earlier this year, the Broadneck-area school earned an award for a video. This month BG&E announced Windsor Farm's third graders earned a $5,000 Hero Award for their winning entry in the "Who is Captain Mercaptan?" Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge. Windsor Farm was one of five schools that collected a $5,000 cash prize.

Mosquito meeting

Broadneck area residents are invited to attend a meeting hosted by the Broadneck Council of Communities at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cape St. Claire Clubhouse, 1223 River Bay Road.

According to Pat Lynch, president of the BCC, Michael Cantwell, director of the Maryland Department of Agriculture's Mosquito Control Program will provide a briefing followed by a question and answer session. Cantwell, who has experienced the effects of mosquito-borne West Nile virus, will review the facts related to current procedures and practices of chemical spraying to control mosquito populations on the peninsula.

Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 410-757-3231.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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