Thursday, May 22, 2008

Piano Competition Goes Old School

DECATUR, Ill. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – A piano competition in Decatur, Illinois, is very old school.

The 34th Annual World Championship Old Time Piano Playing Contest is swinging into town this weekend (May 23-25), with 24 contestants vying for a $1,200 cash prize by tickling the ivories on songs written before 1929.

Piano pounders will play tunes like Scott Joplin’s ragtime classics “Maple Leaf Rag,” and “The Entertainer,” but spokesperson Judy Leschewski says it’s not unheard of for contestants to sneak in something new.

While nobody’s played any Justin Timberlake numbers, Leschewski recalls a contestant playing the 1939 song “Orange Blossom Special,” and says, “Everybody knew it, but nobody called him on it.”

To keep the old-time theme in full swing, piano players have to dress in costume, including big hats, vests, and flapper dresses.

One contestant even borrowed his grandfather’s original band uniform, and another wore a wedding suit passed down through the family.

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