Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra

San Diego, California
Update 5/14/2010

San Diego’s Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra was founded in early 2005 by cornetist and author Bruce Vermazen and pianist Bob Pinsker (back row), originally to provide accompaniment for ragtime-era events by the San Diego Vintage Dancers. The ensemble, co-led by Pinsker and Vermazen, first played for the Vintage Dancers in April 2005 and has been a success from the start. Many of the members of the eleven-piece ensemble were drawn from the Hillcrest Wind Ensemble, a well-regarded concert band. Front row, left to right, are Daniel Swem (violin), John Winkelman (tuba and director of the Hillcrest group), Cheryl Swem (violin), Fernando Herrera (flute &  piccolo), Ed Ducharme, Patrick McMahon, Everett Crouse (clarinet), Alan Adams (trombone), and Ed Henson.(cornet).

The orchestra takes its name from the wonderful 1907 Louis Chauvin-Scott Joplin rag "Heliotrope Bouquet." The delicate and fragrant heliotrope's behavior, a constant turning toward the sun as the day passes, makes a good metaphor for San Diego's affinity for sunshine.

The Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra reproduces the authentic sound of a dance band from the height of the ragtime era, say, about 1915. It has been featured at the Orange County RagFest 2005, has played at several events for the San Diego Vintage Dancers, charity events, etc., will be featured at both the 2006 Orange County RagFest and at the 2006 San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival, and is now available for your event - be it a wedding, Bar Mitzvah, what have you! Contact either of the co-leaders, Bruce Vermazen or Bob Pinsker, at the email address made up of their names in the form 'brucev' or 'bobp', plus the '@' sign, plus the address 'sandiegoragtime.com' (without any of the quotes). (Sorry about that awkwardness, but it's to cut down on spam.)

Newsflash! The Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra is pleased to announce the release of its first CD - IT'S A BEAR! on Stomp Off Records (StompOff CD1411). It is available for purchase from Stomp Off Records and at selected music stores.