A pharmacist living and practicing in Torrance, California (a suburb of Los Angeles), John
Roache (1940-1999) was also an amateur ragtime MIDI musician. He had been playing the piano for
over fifty years and, although an accomplished musician, he had not been so fortunate as to
have been born with hands large enough to play ragtime and stride piano to satisfy his
In the mid-1980s, he developed a desire to share the joy of ragtime with the younger generation and thus began to create ragtime music files on his Commodore-64 computer using COMPUTE!'s SIDplayer music program. His SIDplayer music files were uploaded to the Q-Link Commodore network (the granddaddy of AOL) and their fame spread. In 1987 his Commodore ragtime music was commercially published by Softdisk, Inc.
Early in 1994, John discovered the power and flexibility of MIDI sequencing. Still wishing to spread the joy of ragtime, he created his Ragtime MIDI Library web site and uploaded his MIDI sequences to the Library. Over the next few years his MIDI music received worldwide attention and acclaim. He was very pleased when many fans of his original SIDplayer music visited his new web site and signed his Guestbook. It had been well over a decade since his SIDplayer efforts, and the music was still remembered.
Originally created with Cakewalk Pro 3.01 for Windows and a Soundblaster AWE32 sound card, John's MIDI sequences had most recently been produced using Cakewalk Pro Audio 6.0 for Windows, a Soundblaster AWE64 Gold sound card, and a Roland RD-500 digital stage piano.
In 1997 John was asked to present a seminar at that year's West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California. The subject of the seminar was the production of ragtime music using MIDI technology. The seminar was well-attended and indicated to him that the ragtime community was beginning to accept the technology when properly performed and executed. Late the same year, John was convinced that the world was ready for a commercial recording of MIDI-rendered ragtime music and he produced his first CD, "Syncopated Odyssey". The CD has received a large amount of critical acclaim and attention, not to mention radio air time.
In 1998 John was invited back to the West Coast Ragtime Festival to present another seminar on MIDI ragtime. He also produced his second CD, "Hot Kumquats And Other Frosty Treats", in that year.
John suddenly and unexpectedly died on March 3, 1999.