Veggies for the Heart,
Music for the Soul:
Galesburg, IL – It’s been over two decades since Knox College and the Galesburg community initially partnered up to present the first Rootabaga Jazz Festival. This year’s festival, scheduled for March 11-13, 2004, marks yet another year of collaborative effort between the liberal arts college and its small yet supportive town, both of which wholeheartedly embrace jazz. Two nationally-acclaimed performing artists and lots of local talent are set to entertain and delight listeners during this three-day event.
“The Rootabaga Festival is truly a union of college and community,” Knox jazz band director and festival organizer Nikki Whittaker says. “Because the performances occur at Cherry St. and The Orpheum, we get a chance to show off the character of the town. And it’s a unique opportunity to hear internationally-renowned musicians on the historic Orpheum Theatre stage,”
This year’s Rootabaga Festival—affectionately called “Baga” by Knox students, alumni, and locals—will showcase both local and national talents. The Knox Faculty and Friends Jazz Combo will kick off the festival on Thursday, March 11 at the Cherry St. Bier Garten. Beginning at 8:00 pm and ending ‘round midnight, this gig allows present and past faculty members to “show what they know,” proving that jazz devotees don’t necessarily have to travel to Chicago or St. Louis to hear top-notch musicians.
The Knox College Alumni Big Band—with guest director Scott Garlock, former Knox professor and founder of the college’s jazz program—will perform Friday night at 8:00 pm in the Cherry St. Party Room. Immediately following the big band’s performance, the first of two featured jazz musicians slated to appear at the festival will continue the festivities upstairs in the Bier Garten. Doug Wamble, a guitarist/vocalist with an eclectic repertoire, has performed with jazz giants such as Wynton Marsalis, Madeleine Peyroux, and Cassandra Wilson. Wamble recently released his debut CD, Country Libations, an all-acoustic mix of jazz, delta blues, country, and gospel music.
“Doug is a musician you simply have to hear to understand,” comments Whittaker. “I think his soulful approach to jazz, blues, gospel, and bluegrass will be a perfect fit for the Cherry St. Bier Garten and the vibe of the venue.”
Saturday will be an all-day event as over 300 high school musicians participate in non-competitive clinics and workshops led by the festival headliner, Blue Note recording artist and saxophonist Greg Osby. Scholarships for Western Illinois University’s summer jazz camp and Knox Creative Arts Scholarships will be awarded to students demonstrating outstanding musical skills.
“He (Osby) is deeply interested in
and committed to educating young musicians, so I expect his participation
to be a real highlight for the high school and college students,”
Whittaker says. And about his performance at the Orpehum Theatre later
that evening she continues, “Greg is such an innovator; I can’t
wait to see what he does live.”
Tickets for the Rootabaga Jazz Festival can be purchased upon admission to each event: Thursday, $7; Friday, $10; Saturday morning/afternoon, $3; Saturday evening, $10-15. Advance tickets for Saturday night’s performances may be purchased at the Orpheum Theatre, and discounted weekend passes ($30 each/$35 value) are available by contacting Nikki Whittaker at (309) 341-7265 or email@example.com.
About the Rootabaga Jazz Festival and Knox College
Named for Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories, the Rootabaga Jazz Festival has brought legends and rising stars to the Galesburg community for 24 years. Past performers include internationally renowned musicians Curtis Fuller, Matt Wilson, Benny Green, Joey DeFracncesco, Kurt Elling, Mose Allison, and many others.
Founded in 1837, Knox College is a nationally ranked, private, residential liberal arts college located in Galesburg, IL.
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