- Written by Jack Sherzer Jack Sherzer
On a recent Monday afternoon, Domingo Mancuello brought an old form of music to Homeland Center.
Under his fingers, the sounds of ragtime practically exploded from Homeland’s Steinway grand piano, a gift from a former resident.
“This is a great piano,” he said during his presentation. “It was definitely made in the 1920s because it feels good under my fingers.”
The large crowd of Homeland residents gathered in the main dining room appreciated the serendipity. Toes tapped and heads nodded as Mancuello played familiar tunes and introduced lesser-known compositions, almost all from ragtime’s heyday in the first half of the 20th century.
Mancuello has played piano since age 4 — he’s now 25 — and discovered ragtime when his grandfather sang with a barbershop quartet.
Today, he is production assistant at Fulton Theatre, Lancaster, while also pursuing his passion for ragtime. He tries to preserve an old tradition while refreshing it for the 21st century.
During his Homeland performance, residents happily sang along when they knew the words to the songs. They joined in with “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby,” and “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?”
At the conclusion, resident Phoebe Berner stood up to thank Mancuello on behalf of everyone in the room.
“When this young man plays on Broadway, we can say we saw him at Homeland,” she said.