San Francisco musician Frederick Hodges made a joyous appearance at Washington Elementary School Tuesday afternoon as the featured performer at all-school assembly.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

Hodges entertained and informed the young students by playing a Joplin classic such as Maple Leaf Rag, as well as lesser known, but equally entertaining tunes like Aba Daba Honeymoon.

Several Washington students eagerly took part in Hodges live show, held in the school's cafeteria. The students were excited to see the visiting ragtime performer, and nearly all of them wanted to be called on to take part in the show.

Hodges is the Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation's Artist in Residence this year and is visiting 11 schools in five days to promote the 2017 Joplin Ragtime Festival, scheduled for May 31- June 3 in Sedalia.

The tall & talented musician, who has appeared at a dozen Joplin festivals, said his experience at the schools this week has been fantastic.

"It's been very rewarding, the kids wonderful, the teachers are fantastic, the schools are beautiful, very impressed," Hodges said.

He hopes that his appearance here locally is making a good impression on lots of young minds. "Our goal is to teach the children of Sedalia about the wonderful history that Sedalia has, and the role it's played in American culture," Hodges said.

Many of the students are already familiar with Joplin's music. "The teachers have done a great job of preparing the kids about the history of Scott Joplin, the history of Sedalia and the history of ragtime," he told KSIS Radio.

Hodges said he looks forward to being invited to the ragtime festival and particularly enjoys performing for the kids. "I love doing this, this is a lot of fun," he said.

In addition to San Francisco, Hodges has spent time in England as well.  "I was amazed at how well everyone knows American music over there, good American music. It's just astonishing how good the education is over there," he noted.

Hodges is the featured performer at a special event Thursday night at the Hayden Liberty Center, 111 W. 5th Street, as the accompanist for a 1924 silent movie (Girl Shy, starring Harold Lloyd), starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at or at the door.

Hodges was accompanied by Kathleen Boswell, with the Joplin Foundation and the Sedalia Area Literacy Council.

Following the performance, Washington Principal Lisa Volk personally thanked Mr. Hodges for coming to her school.

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