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Jazz Ensemble and Steel Drum Band Travel to New Orleans

­­­The ONU Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. David Kosmyna, and the ONU Steel Drum Band, under the direction of Dr. Sarah Waters, traveled to New Orleans over spring break, March 3 through March 7.

The group’s first stop was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where they were able to enjoy the historic “Dreamland Bar-B-Que” restaurant.  Early the next morning they departed for New Orleans, the birthplace of Louis Armstrong and America’s own art form: jazz.  The bands performed at The University of New Orleans, which is located on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain and had been flooded during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  The ONU bands played an outdoor concert on the campus and were able to enjoy the warm tropical breeze.

Dr. Kosmyna and Dr. Waters also played a selection from their upcoming album, performing “Shreds,” composed by ONU graduate Gabriel Cabanillas.  Their CD, “Shreds, Music for Trumpet and Percussion of the 21st Century,” will be published by Centaur Records this summer.

The students and faculty had the afternoon to enjoy the French Quarter and take in the music scene.  Many ate beignets and tasted chicory coffee at historic Café DuMonde, later attending a concert of real New Orleans jazz music at Preservation Hall.  Among the culinary delights were crawfish pie, file gumbo, alligator tail, jambalaya, and fried shrimp po’ boys.

As the groups journeyed home, the next stop was the city of Nashville.  The band had supper in the accompaniment of a guitar/singer/songwriter and had a great, relaxing time.

The last stop and performance was at Lakota West High School.  Under the direction of Mr. Greg Snyder, Lakota West’s instrumental program has become one of the best in the state of Ohio.  ONU is lucky to have some of Lakota Westgraduates in the music ensembles, including Maggie Sant and Kelli Holtgrefe.  The Lakota West students appreciated the concerts, and the ONU students were excited to perform.

The trip to New Orleans has become a tradition for the Jazz Ensemble and Steel Drum Band.  The students and faculty alike both look forward to the trip and a chance to see where it all began.