"Blind" Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival preview by Jill Renae Hicks
Nearly 150 years ago, Missouri — and the rest of the nation — had yet to discover the batch of talents all wrapped up in one young boy. John William Boone, born in 1864, had his eyes removed to reduce brain swelling as a 6-month-old. But his severe talent and intellect were left intact, and “Blind” Boone became the man historians link to the flourishing of ragtime music. “Learning about John William Boone seems to touch everyone who hears his music and understands his life experiences,” said Susan Altomari, a music specialist at Lee Elementary School. She helped develop a Boone-based curriculum last year for fourth-graders learning about famous Missourians.