Towns are known for their traditions. Just like Philadelphia has its cheesesteaks and Roswell its aliens, so too Marshall has its own tradition, which it slowly gains more notoriety for every year: Boogie Woogie.
Today, Marshall and Harrison County officials will be joined by visitors from Texarkana, Dallas and Shreveport to celebrate that particular tradition with the dedication of a marker demarcating Marshall as the birthplace of the famous musical style.
The marker dedication and unveiling will begin at 2 p.m. in the Ginocchio Historic District to celebrate the historical roots of Boogie Woogie music in Marshall and the impact it has had locally and abroad. The concert and reception, featuring a live performance of Boogie Woogie by John Tennison and Benjamin Cohen, will begin immediately following the marker ceremony, at approximately 2:45 at The Ginocchio Restaurant, 707 N. Washington Ave.
Musicians identify Boogie Woogie through its repeating elements, usually within the bass lines, its polyrhythmic interplay and the counterpoints that distinguish it from its familiar cousin, ragtime. And since the late 1870s, music historians have recognized this style originated in the Piney Woods of Northeast Texas.
We applaud the decision to make the distinction official with the placing of the marker.
But we hope the appreciation of Boogie Woogie doesn’t stop there.
Earlier this year we expressed hopes that Boogie Woogie would use the HOT funds it receives to set up plans to expand its tourism, making Marshall synonymous with Boogie Woogie. This is a good first step.
We always hope to hear more from Boogie Woogie, as it has put Marshall on the map for music lovers. We hope the maker will continue to attract interest from visitors further than Texarkana, Dallas and Shreveport and that those connected with Boogie Woogie will find a way to convert that interest into heads in beds and economic dollars for Marshall possibly through a festival or a concert series. News that the concert following the dedication sold out well in advance is proof that there is interest and a following to this beloved musical genre.
Traditions are important and we are happy to see this one alive and boogieing in downtown Marshall.