Meet Me at the Fair!: Music from the Great World's Fairs

Paragon Ragtime Orchestra


Note: Paragon has one of the world’s largest libraries of historic American orchestral music, and the particular pieces played on each of Paragon’s concert programs are subject to change to reflect this unique resource.

Meet Me at the Fair! is a two-hour spectacular musical celebration of the world’s fairs, including the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, and the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. Musical “exhibits” rotate, but works by Offenbach, Joplin, Moses-Tobani, and Sousa are the core attraction, performed by Rick Benjamin and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, the official orchestra and conductor of the U.S. Pavilion of the 1992 World’s Fair. Music played a key role in the success of all these international festivals, launching both hit songs and the illustrious careers of many American musicians (including Scott Joplin and Sousa). This new PRO program reunites stirring world’s fair hits with the continuous projections of magnificent fairground images. There is audience participation (on “Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis”), and as a finale, the Orchestra accompanies the Moving Picture Travelogue – historic world’s fair films by Thomas Edison & company. All is propelled forward with evocative narration by conductor Rick Benjamin.


Repertoire – curated by Rick Benjamin using original historic orchestra scores from his Collection

“unheard since ____" pieces

Centennial Hymn - John Knowles Paine (1839-1906)

Telephone Galop - Theodore Moses-Tobani (1855-1933)

Hail Columbia: Fantasie Brilliante (Op. 184) - Theodore Moses-Tobani (1855-1933)

World's Columbian Exposition Waltz - Adelaide Marcelia Glück (1863-1934)

Scherzo (orchestral version) - Edward McDowell (1860-1908)

The Official Panama-Pacific March - Harry L. Alford (1875-1939)

Rediscovered by and exclusively performed by Paragon 

Swing Along! (orchestral concert version) - Will Marion Cook (1869-1944)

Rarely performed but not “lost”

La Nuit et L'Amour - Augusta Holmès (1847-1903)

The Official St. Louis World's Fair March (excerpt) - Frank Van Der Stucken (1858-1929)


The"Meet Me at the Fair!" performance includes actual moving pictures from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (San Francisco, 1915) by the Edison, Biograph, and Keystone film companies, featuring 1915 fair music by Sousa, Saint-Saëns, and Louis Hirsch.



Paragon came into being as the result of Rick Benjamin's 1985 discovery of thousands of historic orchestra scores once belonging to Victor recording star Arthur Pryor. Since then, Rick has discovered or been gifted thousands more historic scores, making him custodian of the world's largest library of scores from this turn-of-the-20th-century era.