Preliminary remark: The English version of this website is up to date, but unfortunately it only offers an extract from the German version. So it can be worthwhile to visit the German-language version via the menu on the left.

Since 1975 the RSF played "classical" rags, songs and other musical formats from the ragtime era. It's instrumentation was the same as suggested in the legendary "The Red Back Book" from 1911 or 1912, that is apart from flute/piccolo cornet, clarinet, trombone, 1st and 2nd violin, cello, bass, piano and drums.

Founded in 1975

Listening to the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra on their first european tour was the key event in 1974. Till that time ragtime music  was just piano roll music for us put on records later on. The elegance of syncopated ragtime melodies together with the vitality of a New Orleans rhythm section was brandnew to our ears. Quite astonishing for us to learn that the band strictly followed printed music published around the turn of the century. Under the leadership of  Klaus Pehl the RSF was founded a year later so to say as the first european subsidiary company. rsf_78.jpg (42348 Byte) 

The Concept

During the first time the material to work with were the historical arrangements for bands of the original compositions for piano from the ragtime greats Scott Joplin, James Scott and Joseph Lamb, which we got with the help of the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, the Jazz Archives Tulane University, New Orleans, and from sheet music collectors. Soon songs and marches from the ragtime era were added to the repertoire of the band. A special kick we got out of Eubie Blake's compositions. We heard him playing on festivals in Europe in the late seventies and loved his charming performances, the last musically active eye witness at that time being 90 years old. Especially his songs from the music revue Shuffle Along (1921) enriched our book. Own arrangements of rather unknown but pretty rags as well as song hits from the pre-jazz years completed our programm over the years. Since 1995 till 2001 the RSF presented together with Lilo's Puppet Show in their own version scenes and motives from Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha.


The relation to New Orleans Jazz opened the doors for the RSF to the jazz scene. After 40 years we still succeeded to get our audience falling in love with the elegant melodies and lively rhythm of ragtime. The music which was so popular around the turn of the century in the urban centers left and right of the mississippi banks is the best in society music. It already prepares  the rising of jazz. The happiness of the music is easily transferred to the audience. We did not hide that we felt happy performing it. We performed in clubs, on small cabaret stages as well as in concert halls and on festivals all over Europe. Over the years special events were  the selforganized concerts in our home town Frankfurt during the 1980s very often presenting a legend of piano playing, the late Dick Wellstood and especially the first performance of our premiere of our Treemonisha-Project in 1995.

dickwell.gif (15925 Byte) Dick Wellstood (Piano), Frankfurt am Main 1980


The RSF played with the instrumentation which is typical for a New Orleans society orchestra of the ragtime era. To the classic New Orleans unit (cornet, trombone, clarinet, piano, bass und drums) strings are added to complete the orchestra's color (1st  violin, 2nd violin, cello). That is - apart from music for flute or piccolo - the instrumentation which is given by the legendary collection of band arrangements of famous piano rags The Red Back Book from the year 1911.

Musicians in 2005 were:

Horst Debnar-Daumler (Cornet & Vocals)

Harald Blöcher (Trombone & Vocals)

Klaus Pehl (Clarinet & Leader)

Herbert Fennel (Violin)

Jürgen Seeger (Violin)

Barbara Dietsche (Cello)

Jutta Klauer (Bass)

Michael Freund (Piano)

Hans-Georg Klauer (Drums)

Hans-Georg Klauer (dr) died in 2006 (RIP) and was replaced by Udo Beilborn. Harald Blöcher (tb) left the Band after 39 years in 2014 and was replaced by Christoph Wackerbarth.
An overview of all former musicians as members, guests or substitutes since 1975 you will find here. More detailed information with photos of the musicians can be found in a text Klaus Pehl: Ragtime Society Frankfurt - Persönliche Erinnerungen an 40 Jahre mit einer liebenswerten Musik (engl.: Ragtime Society Frankfurt - Personal memories of 40 years with a lovable music). 2016, 110 p. from p. 42-66 (as PDF accessible).


Classical rags, cakewalks, songs & marches, excerpts from music shows, excerpts from "Treemonisha", piano rags


The music of the RSF is preserved on

Disbanded 2015

After 40 years it seems enough: The band is withdrawing from public presence. With the appearance on June 21, 2015 for the 100th anniversary of the Frankfurt Zoo as a municipal facility, the RSF  had a worthy final appearance, almost on its 40th anniversary, with the cast (s. foto, from left to right) Michael Freund (p), Barbara Dietsche ( vc, voc), Jutta Klauer (b), Herbert Fennel (1st from left), Klaus Pehl (cl, ld), Horst Debnar-Daumler (co), Udo Beilborn (dr) and our long-time "former" Harald Blöcher (tb) . Jürgen Seeger (2nd from left) and Christoph Wackerbarth (tb) were unfortunately unable to attend.
The last appearance on an initially rainy, but then sunny Sunday is documented with three "amateur" videos on YouTube ("Maple Leaf Rag" YouTube - since 1975 in the repertoire feat. Michael Freund; "Memories Of You" YouTube - since 1983 in Repertoire, Barbara Dietsche with a vocal; "High Society Society" YouTube - in the repertoire since the 1980s with solos by Klaus Pehl, Harald Blöcher and Udo Beilborn).


The website will continue to be operated as a contact point for ragtime friends.

In the meantime, a detailed chronicle of the RSF has been created: Klaus Pehl: Ragtime Society Frankfurt - Persönliche Erinnerungen an 40 Jahre mit einer liebenswerten Musik (Engl.: Personal memories of 40 years with alovable music). 2016, 110 pages in PDF-format.

Address  & Feedback

Ragtime Society Frankfurt
c/o Klaus Pehl
Landgrabenweg 3
53227 Bonn
Tel +49 (228) 42 20 13 22, mobile +49 (171) 3 14 61 29, Fax +49 3222 2474969

Bonn, 13.08.21

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