Boogie-woogie musician returns to library

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 11, 2015

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The Sterling Heights Public Library holds the keys to a March 26 concert celebrating the swing era and the piano.

Boogie-woogie piano player Matthew Ball plans to bring back his retro style of performing during a free public event for the community.

Jason Groth, the library’s public relations and programs coordinator, said the library is  eager to have Ball back. Groth explained that the library is moving toward adding more musical performances as part of its community activities.

“He put on a marvelous show for our patrons in the fall, and we had a lot of positive feedback from our patrons,” Groth said. “He received a standing ovation.”

Ball, 43, from Clawson, said he performs for adults and kids. He said boogie-woogie music has broad appeal because it’s a fun style that puts people in a happy mood and brings a smile to their faces.

Ball said the library is bringing him back because his last show there was so popular that it was filled to capacity, and some people were turned away.

“You can get the 2-year-olds to dance to it, but also the very senior ages,” he said. “And it’s not uncommon in my concerts to clap along, tap along and sometimes … even get up and dance.”

Ball said his musical repertoire of ragtime, blues and boogie-woogie music is a tribute to the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s. He said ragtime and boogie-woogie are American art forms that involve rhythmic piano playing.  

He plans to perform his own arrangements of “In the Mood,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “The Entertainer” and more at the concert. He generally plays dance and swing tunes, and even the blues music is quicker than many people’s expectations of the genre.

“I’ll throw in some new tunes for this performance,” he added. “They’re my arrangements of usually what are standards from those decades.”

The Sterling Heights Public Library, 40255 Dodge Park Road, will present a concert with boogie-woogie pianist Matthew Ball at 7 p.m. March 26. Admission is free, and registration is not required, though seating will be limited and will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Learn more about the library by visiting www.shpl.net or by calling (586) 446-2665. Find out more about Ball by visiting www.boogiewoogiekid.com.

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