Porcupine Ragtime Ensemble
Sacramento, California
Updated 3/23/2008

The Porcupine Ragtime Ensemble began about 1983 (not 1909, as they often claim) when Elliott Adams and Petra and Bub Sullivan started playing together as a trio at the Sacramento Ragtime Society sessions to explore harmonies and Elliott's sheet music collection. Over the years the group has expanded to its present size and instrumentation.

The Porcupine repertoire ranges from folk rags to tangos, cakewalks, classical rags, marches, waltzes, one and two steps, plus many songs. In addition to having performed on public radio, in community concerts including several Stop and Smell the Roses, fairs and the state Railroad Museum, they are regulars at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee Ragtime Corner, the Sutter Creek Ragtime Festival, and the Sacramento Trad Jazz meetings. The group especially loves playing at the West Coast Ragtime Festival - since 1989 - for the great camaraderie and the elegant dancers. The Porcupines have entertained at the Sacramento City Library Galleria and the Stockton Caesar Chavez Library. In July ’07 The American Rag ran a featured interview, and April ’08 marked a first appearance at the Redding Jazz Festival.

They have four CD’s (“Quills Up!”, “Live!”, "Quilling Me Softly”, and, their latest, “Pig Ankles”) on the Miracle Records label (“If it’s good, it’s a miracle!”).

Elliott Adams (piano) has been playing ragtime since age 10 and is now known internationally as a ragtime player, collector, historian, writer, and composer. His extensive collection of ragtime, blues, and early jazz is available to researchers, musicians, and publishers. He has several notable solo recordings (Stomp Off and PianoMania labels) and, in 2006, appears on the “Prairie Blues” CD by PianoMania. Intrepid golfer and practicing dermatologist.

Petra Sullivan (violin) received her college degree in classical music and now teaches piano and violin. For some time now Petra has been the primary organizer of the Sacramento Ragtime Society’s monthly music meetings, the annual Ragtime Corner at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, and 3-5 concerts yearly by visiting performers presented by the West Coast Ragtime Society. In 2006 she helped arrange a series of 5 concerts for the Cultural Crossroads Program at the Stockton Caesar Chavez Library. The only Sacramento native in the group, she also performs on piano with her husband Bub.

Bub Sullivan (mandolin, cünbus, vocals) grew up in Chicago and finally discovered Ragtime while attending school in St. Louis. Raised with classical piano, he later played various string instruments and keyboard in bluegrass, jug, and rock and roll groups. He and Petra discovered the kindred spirits starting a ragtime society (the SRS began in 1982) and have been active in Sacramento Ragtime ever since. An emergency/alternative medicine physician, he has built a 36 foot traditional wooden boat (which still floats).

Susan Desper (flute, piccolo), the new Porcupine on the block, started playing piano at age 6 and flute at age 9. The drum majorette in her high school, she majored in music at Diablo Valley Junior College and Cal State Hayward. She has been Music Director for several musicals and played piano for the Nevada County Theater Groups. Currently with the Sacramento City College, Sacramento Symphonic Winds, and Consumnes River College Bands. A specialist reader at an investment house.

Robyn Truitt Drivon (tuba) has played the tuba since she was ten years old and has now oompahed with orchestras, symphonic bands, and brass ensembles in California and the Midwest, including several European tours. In 2006 Robyn and hubby Steve moved to Woodland and, recently, she was selected as County Counsel for Yolo County. Grandson Ronan calls her “Nama”.

Steve “Pops” Drivon (trombone, percussion, vocals) spends most of the year on the road with the Washboard Wizardz. Having toured previously with his one man show, “Stevie the Musical Clown,” and as crooner/lead trombonist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, he now conducts, writes, arranges, and teaches privately. Steve is an avid radio control airplane enthusiast and very proud Grampa..