Enjoy a FREE concert at The History Museum by Pianist Melissa Smith, Saturday, September 14.

Havre native, Melissa Smith, is a pianist and teacher, who has recently relocated to Great Falls. She has performed solo recitals and had collaborated with pianists, singers, instrumentals, theater groups and opera companies throughout her career. She currently is the worship service pianist at Faith Lutheran Church and at the Church of the Incarnation in Great Falls.

“Not Strictly Ragtime” explores the wide and deep influence of Ragtime – a musical style that enjoyed its peak popularity between 1895 and 1919. Its main feature is its syncopated or “ragged” rhythm. By the early 1900s ragtime had flooded the music publishing industry and the popularity and demand for ragtime boosted the sale of pianos throughout America.

It is not easy to define ragtime. Like jazz, another distinctly American musical art form, ragtime’s composers, practitioners, and admirers each see its boundaries differently. Ragtime is composed chiefly for an audience — a pianistic work not meant for dancing.

Although this concert will feature a wide range of ragtime from the 1890s to the 1990s, it is especially fitting to play ragtime in the Ozark Room at The History Museum as ragtime was a style of music created by and popularized chiefly by African Americans.