Terry Parish

Indianapolis, Indiana
Added 8/22/2004

Terry Parrish was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in 1954. After initial years of rudimentary piano lessons, his interest in playing waned until mid-high school when he and his brother restored a vintage player piano. They acquired a number of piano rolls, one of which featured a medley of popular rags, such as "Maple Leaf" and "Black and White Rag". Being able to sight read and possessing a good ear for chord structure, he began learning rags and fox trots from the era. Through college and medical school, Terry continued playing ragtime and pop piano for his own enjoyment and for entertainment.

In the early 1970's, Terry first played briefly on the Goldenrod Showboat. Later, his group, "The Elite Syncopators", became regular guests at the St Louis Ragtime Festivals. Since the mid-1980's, Terry and the group have played numerous rag fests around the country. He has also made many professional appearances as a soloist.

According to ragtime pianist Trebor Tichenor, "The Elite Syncopators were formed around Terry Parrish, an Indianapolis pianist of extraordinary talent, and the Syncopators continue to be the anchor for most of the ragtime activity around Indianapolis."

Terry is an avid ragtime sheet music collector and when he travels he can be found sorting through sheet music at sheet music swaps and antique stores.   Terry recorded a solo LP of ragtime music on the Stomp Off Label and the Elite Syncopators have recorded a number of tapes and CDs issued on the Stomp Off label.

Biographer Bob O'Friel notes that Terry learned to play the piano by watching and copying the keys of the player piano and that he can interpret and learn a song in one hearing.   As you will hear at this concert, he is also able to demonstrate the identifiable characteristics of quite a number of pianists who were active in the 1920s.   He has recently written several rags in the style of these early pianists and has recorded several of them as solos or with the Elite Syncopators.   His compositions include "One For Arthur," a combination of classic and folksy rag which uses chordal changes and "rips" in melodies reminiscent of Scott Joplin's protege ragtime composer Arthur Marshall of Sedalia. Missouri.   Another of his rags, "That Old Nashville Rag," was written for friend, pianist Trebor Tichenor. A third rag includes novelty ragtime patterns of the early 1920s and is entitled "Charlie's Straight."

Parrish is an M.D. specializing in child psychology, and is the current President of the Classic Ragtime Society in Indianapolis.