Aaron Robinson was just a high school student when he met the musical legendary Glenn Jenks, a pianist, composer, teacher, and performer, whom, later in his career, settled in Camden as a private music teacher.
“I was 18 when I met him,” said Robinson, who lives in Alna. “I attended his very first Harvest Ragtime Revue at the Camden Opera House in 1989. I was composing ragtime at that time and I just strove to emulate him. Our relationship started out with him mentoring me and we eventually became colleagues and friends. Before he passed away, we’d stayed in touch all of the time. I’d send him compositions I’d been working on and he’d send me his.”
Robinson was devastated, as were many of his friends and family, when Jenks unexpectedly passed away in 2016. At that time, Jenks had never catalogued any of his ragtime works for piano in his vast collection of music.
“He was so prolific in so many areas of music such as choral and orchestral, so I wanted to specifically put out a compilation of his ragtime works for piano,” said Robinson, who is also a full-time composer.
Robinson had his work cut out for him.
“Composers and musicologists have been cataloging another’s works into a complete compilation for hundreds and hundreds of years,” he said. “What I’m doing is nothing new, but the reason why I wanted to do this for Glenn is because he was meticulous in archiving his own music. He was at the point in his life where he was taking all of his manuscripts from the 1970s and 1980s and starting to digitize them, which I knew he would have completed.”
It has taken three years of painstakingly cataloguing, as well as transcribing, editing and compiling Jenks’ entire works.
“Some of his works were on paper, some digitized and some were just audio recordings,” said Robinson.
There are big plans for the catalog now that it is complete.
“We are living in the age of digital downloads, so the first thing we are going to do is put it into a software program which allows it to be digitized and accessible all over the world,” said Robinson. “The second plan is to approach a traditional publisher of music books.”
The third objective, one that has taken Robinson a full year to organize is to host the very first Glenn Jenks Ragtime Revue at The Camden Opera House, 30 years to the day when Jenks launched his first Harvest Ragtime Revue.
The Revue will bring together some of the world’s best ragtime musicians, such as Martin Spitznagel, Sue Keller, John D. Adams, Joelle Morris, Sean Fleming and his Ragtime Orchestra, Studio Red Dance Ensemble, Gregoire Pearce, John D. Adams, bass-baritone, Joelle Morris, mezzo-soprano and more. Proceeds to benefit the Glenn Jenks Musical Scholarship for students who wish to further their education in music.
LOCATION: Camden Opera House
DAY / TIME: Saturday, October 5, 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: General Admission $15 / Seniors & Students $10
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org