In 1891, Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins opened his orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina.Read more...
In 1891, Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins opened his orphanage in Charleston, South Carolina. He soon had hundreds of children and needed a way to support them. Jenkins asked townspeople to donate old band instruments, some of which had last played in the hands of Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. He found teachers to show the kids how to play. Soon the orphanage had a band. And what a band it was.
The Jenkins Orphanage Band caused a sensation on the streets of Charleston. People called the band's style of music ""rag," a rhythm inspired by the African-American people who lived on the South Carolina and Georgia coast. The children performed as far away as Paris and London, and they earned enough money to support the orphanage that still exists today.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-10-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Founded in Charleston at the turn of the century by Reverend Daniel Joseph Jenkins, a pastor and former slave determined to give homeless African-American children a better life, the Jenkins Orphanage Band created an irresistible hybrid of martial music and the “raggedy, rattly sound” of “rag” from Geechee/Gullah culture, and incubated the talents of men who helped shape American jazz. A trip to New York City launched a global craze for both the music and the dancing that often accompanied it—the “twisting and twirling and tapping their toes, knocking their knees, and flapping their arms”—soon known as the Charleston. Rockwell (Truck Stop) keeps the story focused and lively, with just enough social and emotional framing (Reverend Jenkins “was always looking for a way to turn bad into good” is a recurring refrain) to add resonance. Bootman’s (Love Twelve Miles Long) sepia tones and military blues beautifully evoke a distant time, but his pictures are at their most fun when he shows how the band brought people everywhere to their feet. Ages 7–11. Author’s agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Nov.)■