Pianist Ken Young will perform live in concert today at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. (Peninsula Daily News)

Pianist Ken Young will perform live in concert today at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. (Peninsula Daily News)

Scott Joplin tribute gets keyed up today in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Local pianist Ken Young will perform ragtime compositions by the “King of Ragtime,” Scott Joplin, today in celebration of Black History Month.

The free 7 p.m. concert will take place at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 132 E. 13th St.

The event, held in the church’s downstairs fellowship hall, will be informal.

As many of Joplin’s ragtime compositions that can be performed within one hour or so will be performed. Audience requests, if any, will be taken.

During his brief career, Joplin wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet and two operas.

One of his first pieces, the “Maple Leaf Rag,” became ragtime’s first and most influential hits and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

Young has been presenting piano concerts at the church since 2015.

He is an expert on Scott Joplin’s ragtime compositions and has been performing 38 of them (from memory) for more than 15 years.

He has been a performer at the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, Calif.

Young was raised in Port Angeles in the 1960s and ’70s, and has been playing music since he was 7 years old.

His first teacher was his mother, Rosalyn Young of Sequim, he said.

He continued his music education under the tutelage of Ed Grier, Dave Hargrave, Richard McCoy, Marvin Pollard and James Van Horn, he said.

But eventually, he decided to switch career paths and became an engineer for Boeing.

He retired from that job in 2014, moving back to Port Angeles to become the organist at St. Matthew.

Being an engineer “primarily just uses the left side of the brain,” he said.

“Music uses both sides.”

And while being an engineer did pay better than working as a musician, Young said he is at a point in his life where he can afford to follow his passion.

“That is exactly what I am doing,” he said.

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