Ethan Uslan of Charlotte NC regained the title he held in 2007 to become World Champion Old-time Piano Player a second time at the 38th annual edition of a piano contest over Memorial Day weekend in Peoria IL. More than 20 piano players came from Germany and Mexico and across the United States to compete for over $4000 in cash prizes and trophies in Regular and Junior Divisions and in the New Rag Contest for aspiring composers.
One of the players from California was booked on the wrong flight and faced elimination before he even got there for missing the drawing, but the other contestants unanimously agreed at their pre-contest meeting that if he could get there before the preliminary round was over (paring the field to the Top Ten), they'd let him play last. So, the late Will Perkins arrived and got to play after all, winding up in the Final Five and eventually taking third place.
Three of the stars of the documentary The Entertainers, shown to the public Friday evening, made it into the finals, where everybody got some money: Uslan, the 2012 champ; “Perfessor” Bill Edwards and Four Arrows. Martin Spitznagel, the 2011 champ, came in second this year, but was a good sport about it...even enduring his name inadvertently spelled “Spitzbagel” on the program cover.
Daniel Souvigny of Hampshire IL wrenched the Junior Division title away from two-time champ Morgan Siever of Carlyle IL.
Non-competing talent included Ragtime legend Johnny Maddox, interviewed on stage for an hour-long workshop by his friend Adam Swanson, who also played with Maddox on the Saturday Night Sing-along show. Plus, Ian Whitcomb was on the Saturday night bill as well, singing with Adam at the piano and also in the musical party rooms before a Sunday workshop on "The Treasures of Tin-Pan Alley"