From WILL - WILL Highlights -

Fingers fly as old-time piano players compete

The Entertainers, 8:30 pm Monday, March 3, on WILL-TV: Piano players descend on Peoria to vie for title and promote ragtime.

Ethan Uslan prepares to play during the World's Greatest Old-Time Piano Player competition in Peoria

Ethan Uslan prepares to play during the World's Greatest Old-Time Piano Player competition in Peoria

Every Memorial Day weekend, piano players from across the world strap on their bow-ties, arm garters, and straw boater hats and descend on Peoria to battle for the title of World’s Greatest Old-Time Piano Player.

The competitors come from all walks of life, but they share an abiding love of old-time music, specifically ragtime.

At 8:30 pm Monday, March 3, WILL-TV airs The Entertainers, a heartwarming comedy about six piano players striving to win the title. With fingers flying and constant one-upmanship, the players keep raising the bar not only to win the title, but to help bring about a revival of ragtime music.

Composers such as Scott Joplin, James Scott, Joseph Lamb and many others used syncopated (or “ragged”) rhythms to create the music that has been called the most technically difficult there is to play. The first natively American popular music, ragtime laid the foundation for jazz, rhythm & blues, and rock & roll. The Entertainers features many of the crowd-pleasing favorites from the ragtime era.

One of the featured competitors, Faye Ballard of Champaign-Urbana, will join us in the studio to play for us during breaks in the program.

Watch a preview: