The Knox College Jazz Band played in Spain this past December continuing a long-standing tradition — they have been to Spain four times in the past 15 years.
“The primary reason for this trip was to expose the band to an entirely different performance experience than they could have in Galesburg, the Midwest, or the U.S. The decision to go this year was also fueled by the fact that this year’s band is one of the strongest ensembles we’ve had in the Knox jazz program,” said director Nikki Malley.
Twenty-five people, musicians, chaperons, and the band’s guest artist, David Hoffman, all went on the trip. They were in Spain for ten days, spending time in Barcelona and Lloret de Mar on the Mediterranean coast. They also made day trips to Tossa de Mar in Catalonia and the monastery at Montserrat.
“My favorite part was climbing the mountains of Montserrat. It was a long walk up but after a couple hours a few of us climbed high enough to see the Mediterranean. It was beautiful and well worth the climb,” said junior band member Michael Yu.
Jazz, a traditionally American musical form, was well received by the Spanish.
“All of our audiences were very gracious. They seemed to recognize many of our songs and were so enthusiastic that we played an encore song or two at every single performance,” said Yu.
Malley was equally impressed by the band’s performance.
“I was amazed not only at the level of performance that the band gave every night, but how responsible they were. It was a pleasure traveling with this year’s band,” said Malley.
Overall the response to the jazz band’s tour in Spain was overwhelming. According to Malley, the band is already planning on returning in two or three years. When asked if he would go back, Yu said, “Without a doubt I will be going back to Spain sometime later in my life. The band had so much fun in Barcelona and we only scratched the surface in the few days that we were there.”