Editor, Webmaster:  Phil Cartwright       Editor@earlyjas.org
Personalities -- by Phil Cartwright
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Rich Fawcett: The Paradiddling Professor               May 2005
Some of you may know Rich Fawcett as a drummer with
several bands in NE Ohio. You may know him as ‘The Voice’
of the EARLYJAS Festival, introducing bands.  He’s known for
teaching at the University of Akron. He is also a father,
grandfather, and a devoted husband to Lois, his bride of 52
years! In all these roles, Rich continues to be a a respected
member of the jazz community.

Rich started drumming in grade school.  He had a strict
teacher who preached the fundamentals.  Rich can still do
double and triple paradiddles. (Look that up on the Internet!)  
Those fundamental skills served him well as he played a
variety of styles of music before settling on New Orleans jazz
as his favorite genre.
Rich grew up and went to school in Bridgeport, OH.  There he met a young man from Wilmington,
OH.  This young man, Vic Tooker, turned out to be a significant influence in Rich’s musical life. Victor
Hugo Tooker also was a product of a musical family.  His mother and father met at the Palace Theater
in New York city where they both were playing vaudeville shows.  Vic’s mother sang with the
Magnificent Moore Sisters.  His dad was billed as Frederick the Great and was a tap dancer as well as
musician.  The three Tookers established a traveling tent vaudeville show they called Victor’s Variety
Shows.  Vic, who played many instruments, was also the head showman and emcee. Later, the
Tookers played together on the Delta Queen showboat

The Tooker family hired Rich to be the percussionist with their traveling show.  They opened with a
Dixieland number or two.  Then, for the rest of the acts, Rich was required to be there and do all the
percussion fills and accents during the acrobat’s pratfalls, the juggler’s routines, as well as provide
accompaniment for the singers and dancers.  

Prior to his touring, Rich was in school at Kent State where he played in the marching band.  Also, he
played with a trio at the Kent Moose headed by the musician and magician, Don McCarthy.

In 1952, Rich’s family and work responsibilities trumped his musical career and he stopped playing.  
Rich had been in ROTC in college.  Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an Army officer.  He
sold his drum kit and used the money to buy an engagement ring.  He and Lois were married and
then the two of them spent two years living in various parts of the US, courtesy of the US Army.  
After that, he spent some years teaching high school and then finished his educational career teaching
at the University of Akron.

In 1982, after being a closet drummer for all those years, Rich re-engaged with the music.  He acquired
another set of traps and spent a lot of time woodshedding.  He said he wore out the last few grooves
of old 78s learning 4 bar drum tags.  He started attending the jam sessions at Stow Library and then
the Peninsula sessions.  

Rich credits Al Kinney and Moe Klippert for encouraging him to re-enter the music scene. Moe
conducted listening sessions and jam sessions at the Peninsula library and loaned Rich jazz records.
Dave Marshall invited Rich to play with the Red Cardinal Jazz Band.  That led to a long standing gig
with Ralph Grugel’s Eagle JB.  Since then, Rich has played a lot with the Earlville JB and is the regular
drummer for Ted Witt’s New Orleans Jazz Ensemble.

For contemporary influences, Rich admires Wayne Jones, drummer with the Salty Dogs, as well as Don
“Doggie” Berg, drummer with Norrie Cox's New Orleans Stompers. He also likes a young drummer,
Herlin Riley, who plays with Winton Marsalis.

Rich is a very humble person who is quick to praise many of the musicians with whom he has played.
Rich:  We are delighted to be part of your musical family. Keep up the good work!
Jeanne Dannemiller -- Jitterbugging Trustee          May 2005

Jeanne Dannemiller was elected to her first term as EARLYJAS
Trustee in January.  She is a ‘late bloomer’ as far as being
interested in traditional jazz.  
Just six years ago her boss, Hill Browning, and Glen Vogenitz
took her to an EARLYJAS event.  She enjoyed the toe-tapping
music but was reluctant to go by herself since she really didn’t
know anyone in the club.  Then came Bill Parthe to the rescue.  
Gallant, and always the ladies man, Bill agreed to escort her to
EARLYJAS events.  Soon Jeanne was known to everyone and
became active in EARLYJAS affairs.
Jeanne has lived in NE Ohio for most of her life with stops in Barberton, Doylestown,
Wadsworth, Hudson, and now Cuyahoga Falls.  She did spend some years in Florida and
occasionally, during January and February, wonders why she returned to Ohio.

Another of her talents is helping Bill Parthe switch between top hat and wig when he sings
both the male and female parts to the song  “I Don’t Want To” with the Minstrels of
Earlville.  (You have to see it to believe it!)

Jeanne is at once optimistic and a bit discouraged about the future of OKOM.  She sees it as
a vibrant art form that fills an admittedly small niche in the world of jazz and popular
music.  She agrees with most of us that it is important to entice younger generations to
play and enjoy the music.  

In her own way, though, she is grooming a small segment of the pre-teen generation to
like the music.  She has converted her basement into a coffee house/bar atmosphere with
menus, tables and chairs, and paraphernalia to entertain her grand children.  The juke box
contains only songs from the 30’s and 40’s!!
                                     Thanks, Jeanne!!
The Reverend John Townsend:                                  May 2005
It was my good fortune to be able to interview my friend
Reverend John Townsend on his home turf, a delightful, cozy
home in a secluded wooded area in Novelty, OH.  

Entering his home, one of the first things you see is an antique
bear rug, inherited from some aged relative.  It reminded me of
that wonderful old Phil Harris song, ‘The Preacher and The Bear’,
a song I learned on my daddy’s knee.

John is a preacher’s preacher.  He was pastor of the United
Church of Christ, Federated, in Chagrin Falls for 39 years!!
His membership swelled from 300 to 1500 during his tenure.  Retiring in 1987, he moved to St. Luke’s in
Old Brooklyn and was there for another 12 years!  What a remarkable record of service! He served three
generations of parishioners.  In his words, he became adept at “Hatch, match, and dispatch!”

Music is a thread that has continually intersected his career(s).  He learned all seven positions of the
trombone and played it from grades 6 through 12.  He took it with him to college but running short of
cash, he pawned it.  He grew up listening to Arthur Godfrey and took up Arthur’s instrument, the ukulele,
to accompany himself as he sang.  He graduated to tenor guitar which he occasionally played at church
services.
Around 1980 John began to frequent a piano bar, the Lion & the Lamb at Landers Circle and began singing
along with Joey Sands.  John continues to sit in with bands and is a frequent singer at the Raintree
Restaurant in Chagrin Falls.
In his ministry, Dr. John encouraged music of all types.  He is especially proud of his sponsorship of a
Chagrin Falls youth group called a “Joyful Noise.”  This show choir enjoyed a 15 year run of encouraging
high school students to enjoy and perform music.


Thanks, John, for your support of EARLYJAS and jazz!
Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
EARLYJAS