Peabody Ragtime Ensemble
Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, an acoustic “little big band,” preserves the roots of American Jazz through performance of vintage repertoire in concert, dance and stage settings.
The band has performed with and opened for stars such as Roberta Flack, Louie Bellson, the Smothers Brothers, Eubie Blake, Alberta Hunter, Aaron Copland and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
In spite of the “Ragtime” moniker, Peabody Ragtime Ensemble has evolved from its 1974 student roots into a professional jazz ensemble that performs an eclectic line-up of traditional jazz, ragtime, Dixieland, big band, swing, novelties, and vocals. The 7-piece Ensemble presents a quirky concert program of musical selections interspersed with “edu-taining” commentary that places the music in its historical context, reflecting the virtuosity, scholarship (and humor!) of its various members.
For more than 30 years, Peabody Ragtime Ensemble has been filling concert halls and bringing audiences to their feet with their infectious brand of, “delightfully diverse repertoire,” that has, “spirits . . . singing, clapping, shagging down the aisle.”
Ed Goldstein | Tuba & Music Director
Ed received his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University. In addition to being a founding member ofPeabody Ragtime Ensemble in 1974, he is also the founder and director of Baltimore Jazz Orchestra, Swanee River Ragtime Band, Brass Menagerie Brass Quintet andBourbon Street Ramblers. Ed is principal tubist with the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
In 1992, Ed and banjoist Buddy Wachter appeared in Carnegie Hall as featured artists with the New York Pops Orchestra under the baton of Skitch Henderson; together they perform as a duo under the moniker, TuBanjo. Ed is co-author of the definitive, 656-page scholarly work on his instrument, The Tuba Source Book, published by Indiana University Press.
Ed served as Music Contractor for Center Stage for over 20 musicals—including all of their highest-grossing shows—and is the current Music Contractor for Everyman Theater in Baltimore, MD. In addition to private teaching, Ed is on the music faculties of Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County and the Peabody Institute Preparatory Department.
Maureen McCusker | Flute, Piccolo, Tenor Sax & Vocals
Maureen received her Bachelor of Music degree from Towson State University, where she was a member of Hank Levy’s Towson State Jazz Ensemble. She was the 1982 recipient of the St. Johns Episcopal Concert Series Artists Guild Award and the Towson State University Talent Award Competition.
Maureen is a cherished alumna of the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble (1984-1993) and is on the music faculties of Windsor Farm and St. Claire Elementary Schools in Anne Arundel County. She is a sought-after vocalist in the Baltimore-Washington area. Maureen re-joined Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in 2005!
Erik Apland | Piano
Erik is a graduate of South Dakota State University and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, completing degrees in classical piano. Erik attained commercial music experience as a show-band and dance-orchestra leader on several ships in the cruise industry.
After a brief period as a music educator in his home state of South Dakota, Erik was the band leader aboard the legendary Delta Queen, a steamboat that sails the Mississippi and Ohio River systems. Erik joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band in 1999 and became a sought-after free-lancer in the Baltimore-Washington area. Erik joined Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in 2005.
Greg Pascuzzi | Arranger, Piano, Trumpet & Percussion
Greg was born into a musical family and studied piano, trumpet and composition/conducting with many of the country’s leading artists. In1972 he joined the military, transferring to the U.S. Army Field Band in Washington in 1974, where he played solo cornet in the concert band and piano with the Jazz Ambassadors before retiring from the military in1999.
Greg’s original music and arrangements have been played by many orchestras and most of the major service bands in the US. Greg serves as co-director of music at Bishop Cummins Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church in Catonsville. Greg participates in musical missionary work throughout the world, much of his work with a UK-based group called Face2Face, which provides benefit concerts in prisons, orphanages and hospitals in Russia and the UK. Greg joined Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in 1999.
Matt Belzer | Flute, Clarinet, Soprano & Alto Saxophone
Matt is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. His performances and compositions won honors from Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Composers Alliance. He is published on Advance Music in Germany for a work commissioned for the 1998 National Flute Association Convention.
Matt is a founding member of the Baltimore-based new-jazz ensemble Quartet Zero. In addition to private teaching, he is a member of the Peabody Institute Preparatory and University of Maryland Baltimore County faculties, and is Director of Homewood Jazz Ensembles at Johns Hopkins University. Matt joined Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in 1999.
Mike Flaherty | Drums & Percussion
Mike holds a Masters degree in Special Education from the George Washington University. He studied music at the University of Central Florida, as well as George Mason University and Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona. Mike enjoyed a long military career, including over twenty years as a drummer with the famed Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, before retiring from the Army in 2003.
In 1993, Mike founded Dixieland Direct, a combo that performs at jazz clubs in the Washington, DC and northern VA area. They are currently appearing every Sunday evening at the Zoo Bar in NW, DC. Dixieland Direct won the 2010 French Quarter Jazz Festival Battle of the Bands in New Orleans, LA.
Mike has performed with many New Orleans musicians, including Ryan Burrage, Louis Ford, Tom Fischer, Jacques Gauthe, Tim Laughlin, David Boeddinghaus, Eric Glaser, and Harry Watters. Along with being a freelance musician in the National Capital Region, Mike is a member of the Kaleidoscope Orchestra and Swing Shift Big Band. Mike currently works for the U.S. Marine Corps as the Exceptional Family Member Program Manager. Mike joined Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in 2005.
Scott Holbert | Trumpet & Vocals
Scott studied the trumpet at Texas A&I University and University of Maryland and is a student of Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt, Philadelphia, PA. In addition to performing, Scott also teaches private students and has developed a reputation as a maker of custom brass mouthpieces.
Scott retired after 30 years of military service, primarily with the U.S. Army Field Band. After playing all of the Ensemble’s daytime (Young Audiences) concerts for a year as a long-term substitute, Scott joined Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in 2003.
“A first prize for eclecticism should go to another Baltimore combo, the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble, which presented a polished and lively program that covered the spectrum from march to rag to Dixieland to Fats Waller and blew up a hurricane with the Benny Goodman/Gene Krupa warhorse Sing Sing Sing.”
“Things definitely swung in Lancaster Square Sunday night as the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble delighted a throng of about 500 people with their delightfully diverse repertoire of traditional American music.”
Malone Evening Telegram
“It is no-nonsense jazz, the kind that says listen, enjoy or get out of the way… Listeners’ bodies may have remained sedately in their seats but their spirits were singing, clapping, shagging down the aisle.”
“Each of the members is a virtuoso on his own instrument and has mastered the art of jazz improvisation. As an ensemble, their sound is tight, energetic and exhilarating.”
“The Ensemble mesmerized everyone present at their performance.”
Maryland Musician Magazine
“The instrumental performances are uniformly stunning… Check out the three horns blowing three different melodies in Sunny Side Up; only then will you be able to appreciate this septet’s true musical virtuosity.”
“Though the Ensemble may not be the type George Peabody imagined would carry his name when he founded the Conservatory, it’s likely that if he were alive today, he’d be tapping his philanthropic foot.”
“We can’t mention everything that was heard at their concert… their repertoire is vast.”
“This is a versatile, well-rehearsed group… Catch the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble whenever you can. They’re superb!”
“When the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble went to Moscow last November , Soviet audiences gave them the kind of welcome rock stars usually get… Even more prestigious was an invitation to a jam session at a famous jazz club… where Dave Brubeck played on his Soviet tour.”
Concert, Dance & Wedding Repertoire
This is just a representative sample of our vast tune list, including big band, swing, contemporary, dixieland, latin, waltzes, polkas, and more.
Live At The Homecoming (CD)
Live At The Homecoming documents our 25th Anniversary “Reunion Concert,” recorded live in Peabody Institute’s Friedburg Hall. It’s chock-full of everything you love about the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble—rags, big band, swing, Dixieland, novelties, vocals—plus a few genuine surprises! All the electricity of a live concert, captured in a state-of-the-art digital recording.
Watch the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble in concert playing C Jam Blues.
A summary of our recordings, honors, and collaborations with other musicians.
Professional Associations, Presenters, Houses of Worship, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Senior Centers, Hotels, Historic Mansions, Clubs, Conference Centers, Colleges, Universities, Theaters, Festivals, Concerts, Arts Councils, Parks & Recreation, Schools, Libraries, Museums
Peabody Ragtime Ensemble concerts are a quirky, joyous potpourri of American music ranging from about 1890 to 1950, spanning a variety of early jazz styles including ragtime, Dixieland, big band, swing and novelty tunes, usually interspersed with a few choice vocals in each set.
Those of you who had the rare privilege to “experience” Joe Rinaldi, the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble’s reed player extraordinaire from 1993 to 2005, will be saddened to learn of his death on May 18, 2010 at age 85 in Wolfeboro, NH, where he made his home after he retired from active performing in 2005.
The Peabody Ragtime Ensemble formed in March of 1974 when the members were all students at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.