Day 142

Mausoleum at St. Michael’s

May 20th, 2012

This cemetery is the final resting place of the musician Scott Joplin, known primarily for his ragtime compositions, including "Maple Leaf Rag" and "The Entertainer". In fact, as it turns out, St. Michael's just held its annual musical tribute to him yesterday!

Joplin achieved some fleeting fame during his lifetime, but was largely forgotten in the decades after he died of syphilis in a New York City mental institution in 1917. He was buried in a pauper's grave here at St. Michael's, which remained unmarked until the mid-1970s, when a growing revival of interest in his music reached fever pitch.

This renewed appreciation for his work led to a posthumous Pulitzer Prize, the first full staging of his opera Treemonisha, and a starring role for several of his ragtime pieces in the soundtrack of The Sting. Even today, you can hear his music echoing out on the streets of America — every time an ice cream truck drives by blaring the first section of "The Entertainer" on endless repeat.

One Comment

  1. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for that great info about Scott Joplin. I love his ragtime music and didn’t know much about the man until I read your link.

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