I used to always make sure I catch the ragtime pianist at Disneyland who always played everything at outrageously fast tempos… Rod Miller is his name, and the news travels slow to me, so while doing searches of ragtime pieces on YouTube, I find out that Rod Miller has retired!
Note: Here’s his extremely fast rendition of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag!
Thank you Mr. Rod Miller for bringing joy to people’s hearts with your amazing piano playing at the Coke Corner on Main Street in Disneyland… you will be missed!
What makes all this even more amazing was that Rod broke his back as a child and had his spine fused. Doctors told him he’d never walk again, but he defeated that prophecy. He shouldn’t have been able to sit and play piano either, but Rod figured out how to do that too. In the end, the 30 plus years of playing 8 hours aday, plus outside gigs and practice, took its toll on Rod’s body and tortured spine. He is retiring now, but not because he wants to, I can assure you.
There is no way for me to sum up in one post what Rod Miller means to me, to Disneyland, and to the world of Ragtime music. He has been Ragtime music’s greatest ambassador, churning out the tunes a breakneck speed to guests at Disneyland. He was always learning new songs right up until the end of his career. He tutored students of Ragtime Piano with whatever time he could spare (a few have followed in his footsteps working at Disney Theme Parks). He has been a great friend to many and could always be counted on to cheer you up when you were down, play that special song of memories for you, or just to make you laugh and feel good with a song.
So all that’s left to say is “Thank you for the beautiful music Rod. You would have made Walt proud.”