In 1986, a group of Northeast Ohio jazz fans led by Jean and Paul Huling (known as Sister Jean, the Ragtime Queen and Laundry Fat) formed a club called EARLYJAS (The Earlville Association of Ragtime Lovers Yearning for Jazz Advancement and Socialization).     The club produced the popular Fall Dixieland Jazz Festival in Strongsville, Ohio (replaced in 2012 by the GRUGELFEST).  Sister Jean passed away on June 26, 2016 at the age of 85. 


     A classically trained musician, Jean was known for her bold and lively mastery of ragtime; she received the Scott Joplin Foundation Award for Contributions to Ragtime in 1996.   She  also played  piano in Ralph Grugel’s legendary Eagle Jazz Band.


     Jean and Paul Huling’s grandson, Kenan Leslie, continues the  musical tradition of his grandparents on both washboard and piano, first performing at age 11 with Sister Jean in the 1996 Washboard  Music Festival in Logan, Ohio just months after his grandfather died.


     Kenan has now focused on ragtime piano and, in memory of Sister Jean, will open GRUGELFEST 2017.  As his grandparents once did, Kenan is still keeping syncopation alive by passing the music down the generations! 



Sister Jean, the Ragtime Queen & Kenan Leslie (“Li’l Laundry”)