Knox Jazz Groups

Knox Jazz Groups Win Awards at Festival

March 05, 2014

By Laura Pochodylo '14

The Knox College Jazz Ensemble and the Knox Cherry Street Combo recently brought a variety of honors back to campus from the University of Louisville Jazz Festival in Kentucky.

The festival drew 28 student ensembles and big bands that competed over two days. On Saturday, March 1, the Cherry Street Combo was selected as the outstanding ensemble, and the band opened for the evening headlining concert. The Cherry Street Combo played all original songs composed by students.

"It was exceptionally exciting to see the Cherry Street Combo recognized not only for their outstanding performance, but for their work as composers of original music," said Nikki Malley, assistant professor of music and director of jazz studies at Knox .

Malley accompanied the students and directed the Knox Jazz Ensemble at the festival. David Hoffman, adjunct instructor of music, is director of the Cherry Street Combo.

"It was a pleasure to attend the University of Louisville Jazz Festival and to see our students performing at such a high level," Malley said.

In addition to the Cherry Street Combo's recognition as an outstanding ensemble, seven Knox students won outstanding soloist awards. Two students received awards for performing with both the Combo and the Ensemble:

Josh Calef, Cherry Street Combo and Jazz Ensemble
Kyle Kunkler, Cherry Street Combo and Jazz Ensemble
Jake Hawrylak, Cherry Street Combo
Nathaniel Beck, Cherry Street Combo
Stephanie Hawes, Jazz Ensemble
Sakiko Nomura, Jazz Ensemble
Mike Supej, Jazz Ensemble

Two of the outstanding soloists also were awarded full-tuition scholarships to the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshop at the University of Louisville this summer. Jake Hawrylak and Kyle Kunkler received two of the four scholarships awarded at the competition. The Aebersold Workshop is a well-known intensive performance experience for emerging jazz artists from across the country.

"We are honored that two of our students were selected for Aebersold Workshop scholarships," Malley said. "The experience will be invaluable to them both, and I am excited to see what new ideas and approaches they bring back to the Knox Jazz Program after their summer intensive study."