How did the STJS Rent Party get started?

Back in the 1970s, early days of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society when the musicians’ union was stronger, STJS Exec Director Bill Borcher Made a deal with the Union that once a year STJS would pay local bands to play.

In 1997, Ralph Thompson and Bob Ringwald were sitting with Dr. Ed Lawless and wife Dottie at a New Orleans Jazz Club of Northern California monthly meeting. It was the NOJCNC’s annual Rent Party.

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In the early days of Jazz in Harlem, when a musician could not pay his rent, the musicians would get together, have a jam session, charge admission, and raise the money to pay the rent.

Bob Ringwald said to Ralph Thompson, “That’s it. Why pay out money that we don’t have and go in the red. Let’s have a STJS Rent Party where we feature local bands. We will ask them to volunteer their time and talent to help STJS pay its rent/bills.”

Crescent Katz with Zoe Murray at the 2017 STJS Rent Party
Crescent Katz with Zoe Murray at the 2017 STJS Rent Party

At this time in 1997 Ringwald was taking over booking the guest stars and bands from Ralph Thompson. Ringwald let the local bands know that STJS was losing money and asked them to volunteer to play the Rent Party. And the rest is history.

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This year, for the 19th annual STJS Rent Party, January 8, 2017, STJS have 15 bands that are donating their time and talent to help the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society pay the rent for the upcoming year. There will be 10 professional bands and 5 youth bands playing from noon – 5:00 PM in 3 different rooms.

For more information on the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, see

Bob Ringwald is well-known to many fans of classic jazz as a bandleader, pianist, banjo/guitarist, vocalist, and radio DJ. He was the long-time leader of the Great Pacific Jazz Band of Los Angeles and the Fulton Street Jazz Band of Sacramento, California. He served on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society and was the Guest Star Coordinator for many years. He was also an original board-member of the International Sacramento Dixieland Jazz Jubilee. In 2012, Bob was honored by the Jazz Jubilee by being named the “Emperor of Jazz.”

Among many professional credits, he played intermission piano at Turk Murphy’s Earthquake McGoon’s in San Francisco, California, from 1970 to 1973. Bob produced and hosted a weekly 3 hour jazz radio show, titled Bob Ringwald’s Bourbon Street Parade in Los Angeles from 1979 to 1994. He is the father of three children, Beth Carnes, home-maker and mother, Kelly, fencer and rock climber and the actress, author and jazz singer Molly Ringwald. Bob now lives with Adele, his wife of 59 years, in the Sacramento area. He boasts 4 grandchildren and one great-grandson. He may be contacted at

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