The composition pays tribute to Atascadero’s roots, including its one-time Tent City

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Community Band has announced the world premiere performance of “Tent City Rag,” a musical production gifted and dedicated to the band by esteemed “amateur” composer and fellow Atascadero resident H. Jack Dexter. This new composition will take center stage, completing the band’s “Around the World in 80 Notes” concert, scheduled to take place on Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Atascadero Bible Church.

“Tent City Rag” is a heartfelt homage to the rich history and cherished landmarks of Atascadero, offering a melodious journey through the town’s endearing memories. The composition pays tribute to Atascadero’s roots, including its one-time Tent City, with a vibrant ragtime section that harks back to a bygone era of community spirit. If listeners pay close attention, they will recognize the essence of idyllic moments spent at a few of our most beautiful landmarks, including the Atascadero Lake, melodically brought to life throughout the composition. In its entirety, the piece of music will remind the audience of precisely why we are all so lucky to call Atascadero our home.

H. Jack Dexter, the composer behind “Tent City Rag,” has dedicated this musical masterpiece to the band as a heartfelt token of his deep appreciation for their exceptional musicianship and unwavering devotion to the community. Dexter aspires for this composition to establish a lasting legacy, both for the band and the city it represents. He envisions it as an enduring melodic experience, akin to an earworm, one that beckons to be heard repeatedly. 


In his words, “You don’t listen to a Beethoven symphony just once.” He hopes that with each rendition of the piece, listeners will unearth melodic nuances, much like the discovery of hidden treasures within a symphonic masterpiece.

Dexter does not consider himself to be a professional composer but certainly as an enthusiast. Among other career choices, he learned to tune pianos as a way to “pay the bills.” His lifelong love of music is evident through his piano technician career, composing, and participation in recorder groups throughout his life.

This premiere performance promises to be a momentous occasion that celebrates both the band’s enduring legacy and the unique spirit of Atascadero. The band hopes to have city leadership, including Mayor Heather Moreno and members of the City Council, in the audience that day to commemorate the occasion, as well as encourage the city to consider Tent City Rag as the Official Song of Atascadero.

“We are incredibly honored to be the recipients of ‘Tent City Rag’ from the talented H. Jack Dexter,” said Joyce Rabellino, president of the ACB Board of Directors. “This composition beautifully captures the essence of our town and its vibrant history. It’s a gift to our band and our community, and we can’t wait to share it with our audience in hopes it becomes a lasting legacy.”

The “Around the World in 80 Notes” concert will feature a diverse program, taking the audience on a global musical adventure. From classical compositions to more contemporary works, the concert promises to offer a delightful auditory experience for all attendees.

The world premiere of “Tent City Rag” is set to be a highlight of the evening, and the Atascadero Community Band invites residents and visitors alike to join them on Sunday, Oct. 29, at the Atascadero Bible Church to witness this special performance. The concert will begin promptly at 3 p.m., and refreshments will be provided. The concert is free, and donations are always gratefully accepted.

For more information about the Atascadero Community Band, “Tent City Rag,” and the “Around the World in 80 Notes” concert, visit

Feature Image: H. Jack Dexter looks forward to hearing the band bring his original composition, “Tent City Rag,” to life at the Atascadero Community Band concert on Oct. 29. Photo by Joyce Rabellino.