PHOTO STORY: Protestor claims school of music and dance excludes ragtime

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October 24, 2013 — Eugene, Oregon

The man was shouting, but the only sounds were the crunching of leaves underfoot and the scuffing of his footsteps as he marched yesterday up and down the street in front of the Frohnmayer Music Building. Although he wasn’t making a sound, he was shouting silently and wearing a homemade sandwich board sign where he had written, “Discrimination against Ragtime Era Parlor Music.”

G. Julian Walker is a self-proclaimed music historian, author, piano tuner and a poet who lives in Springfield, Oregon. He was protesting along 18th Ave next to the music school, claiming ragtime era parlor music is not taught at UO.

“There’s a lot of popular pieces out there that the students do not know anything about and I’m very saddened because they are missing a lot of beautiful music,” Walker said. “I’m out here protesting that this should be taught and I would at least like to teach it for 15 minutes in some class somewhere.”

Walker said he taught a class on ragtime era parlor music at Chico State University through their extension service and applied to the UO School of Music and Dance to teach ragtime here. However, Walker said he was not given the opportunity because he lacks the credentials.

“It is the voice of the soul and it is very pure music,” Walker said. “It is very beautiful music.”

This term, jazz history is being taught by Carl Woideck, senior instructor of jazz, rock and blues history. He said the UO does teach ragtime.

“In the music history department, we cover Ragtime in several classes, especially the fall term of jazz history and the spring term class on 20th-century music,” Woideck said. “I look forward to playing examples of ragtime, and just last week in my jazz history class we saw a video of a pianist demonstrating the ragtime style.”

Aaron Ragan-Fore, Director of Communications for the UO’s School of Music and Dance, released a statement Wednesday that said, “The University of Oregon School of Music and Dance supports free expression. We’re pleased to continue offering curriculum covering music of the ragtime era, as well as numerous other styles, from contemporary dance to African dance, early and classical music to contemporary music, world music, and jazz.”

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